RochesterAugust 9, 2012
State investigates human bones found under Main Street
By Mary Beth Almond
C & G Staff Writer
Crews working on Main Street in downtown Rochester have discovered human remains that have been linked to a prehistoric burial, according to Michigan Department of Transportation archaeological consultant James Robertson.
“MDOT is working with local police and the Oakland County Medical Examiner’s Office to resolve the situation, which is not a crime scene,” Robertson said in a statement.
When the bones were discovered at the end of July, work was stopped, the area was secured and state archaeologists were notified. State archeologists then went on-site to remove the bones and take them to their facilities for testing.
Rochester City Manager Jaymes Vettraino confirmed that bones have been found “in a couple of places throughout the project,” but the ones of “most interest” to MDOT and the state archeologists working with MDOT were found near the corner of Third and Main. He said MDOT has the ultimate determination as to what to do with any of the bones found.
“The discovery is a very significant and important find for the history of this region, and the city will continue to cooperate with MDOT in every way possible to make sure information regarding the remains is handled appropriately,” Vettraino said.
Going into the Main Street Makeover, Vettraino said city and state officials surmised that some significant archeological finds might be uncovered throughout the span of the project.
“As part of the due diligence before the project, the state had identified the potential for significant archeological finds from information provided in an early 1900s book about when the building known today as the Home Bakery was built, that there was — at least at the time of the book writing — thought to be a burial ground in that area. As part of the project, we worked with the state to make sure that the state archaeologist was aware when that area was being disturbed and could be kept informed,” he said.
Robertson said in a statement that MDOT is consulting with Michigan American Indian tribes about the remains and their proper treatment, in accordance with federal and state laws.
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