Solutions for a better world

Potter's Field | Secaucus, NJ, US

  • aerial view of Potter's field in New Jersey
  • grave yard
  • men working in field
  • picture frame with ancestors
  • artifacts found in Potter's Field
  • excavator working on field
  • woman working on lab
  • people attending memorial service
Landmark reburial project completed in Secaucus, NJ

Established in 1880, Potter’s Field in Secaucus, N.J., was used by Hudson County institutions to bury their dead. Burial operations at Potter’s Field ceased in 1962.

Challenge
A proposed highway interchange project commissioned by the New Jersey Turnpike Authority required disinterment and reinterment services at Potter’s Field in Secaucus. Louis Berger was chosen to assist in the assignment, the single largest disinterment undertaken in the United States.

Solution
Louis Berger designed an archaeological plan to identify and excavate all remains and artifacts from the unmarked grave shafts. Coordinating with state and private interests, the multidisciplinary Louis Berger team succeeded in:

  • Exhuming the remains of 4,571 individuals from 2,693 grave shafts dating back to the mid-1800s.
  • Positively identifying 825 individuals from their remains, using research and osteological analysis.
  • Reinterring all remains, except for two individuals who were returned to their families for private burial.
  • Cataloging more than 113,000 artifacts that were reburied with associated remains.

A granite monument with bronze plaques displaying the names of more than 7,000 individuals was erected at the new cemetery upon completion of the project. A small granite monument was also placed along the new Secaucus interchange to memorialize the former site of Potter’s Field.