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#452208 - 11/29/12 08:06 AM The Bottles And Bones Beneath the Street
Marty Offline
There was a quite a commotion created in downtown Belize City today when what appears to be human bones were found under North Front Street.

BWSL workers were digging under the pavement right in front of the Caye Caulker Water Taxi at the northern approach of the swing bridge when they came upon what looked like a human bone - which led to a set of bones.

One of the workers told Monica Bodden more:

BJ - Worker In Street Digging
"Well, we are just giving BWS a hand. We are just giving them an extra hand on the side because we will eventually pave the street. We are not working for BWS."

Monica Bodden
"So now, when you guys are doing the digging, what did you discover?"

"Well, one of my friends called me over and told me that he saw a bone. So, I just continued to dig, and when I looked, we saw a pile of the bones. We started to take them out and put them on the side."

Monica Bodden
"So far, are you guys still finding and retrieving bones from the ground?"

"Yes ma'am, the police told us to stop, so we can't dig anymore."

Monica Bodden
'Oh, so they asked you guys to stop."

"Yes Ma'am."

Monica Boddden
"Did you guys find a skull as yet?"

"Well, it's the jawbone. It's only the bottom jaw."

Monica Bodden
"Do you think it's a human?"

"It really is a human, yes ma'am."

Monica Bodden
"Now, when you first saw it, what was the reaction?"

"Well, we usually dig, and we usually find very old pint bottles and other things, when we saw it, we thought it was an artifact."

Monica Bodden
"So you first informed who about this?"

"We never informed anybody. We just continued to dig, and a crowd of people started to gather around, and they called the media."

Monica Bodden
"You guys found what pieces?"

"We found ribs, feet, a little piece of the chest, jawbone."

Monica Bodden
"So, you're convinced that it is a jawbone."

"Yes, ma'am."

One street-side, would-be archaeologist set the parts up as quickly as they came out, from the femur bone, to the hips, to the ribs to a few vertebrae, to a jawbone - creating a decent semblance of a human skeleton.

That was this morning, and this afternoon at around three, the area started buzzing with activity again as another batch of bones was unearthed.

By then, the police scenes of crime team had taken charge of the scene - and had collected paper and plastic bags of remains - treating them with forensic gloves.

But, there's only so much they could do, after all it's North Front Street at the bridgefoot, and there was, shall we say, some improvisation, like this off colour comedy by one of the area personalities.

It appears there was some confusion over whether it was a crime scene or an archaeological dig and the police scenes of crime team did not permit personnel from the Institute of Archaeology to make their on-site examinations.

The scenes of crime team took the accumulated remains to the morgue.

We sent pictures to the Director Of Archaeology Jaime Awe who told us that given the area where they were found he suspects that they are the remains of someone who died in hurricane Hattie and was buried where the remains were found.

Senior Archaeologist, Dr John Morris is expected to inspect the bones tomorrow at the morgue.

Channel 7

#452223 - 11/29/12 08:40 AM Re: The Bottles And Bones Beneath the Street [Re: Marty]
Marty Offline

The remains of an era; skeletons unearthed in the city

There was a major discovery of historical value in downtown Belize City this morning. Police cordoned off the area on North Front Street in front of the former Paslow building where two skeletons were unearthed by employees of Belize Water Services. While the event caught the attention of tourists and Belizeans in the area, archaeologists are yet to determine the origins of the remains. But News Five’s Isani Cayetano found out that there several theories as to how the skeletons ended in that particular area, which is being remodeled as part of the Sustainable Tourism Project.

Isani Cayetano, Reporting

Employees of Belize Water Services Ltd. were taken aback this morning upon unearthing the skeletal remains of a human being on North Front Street. The crew, working with the BTB as part of its Sustainable Tourism Project, was excavating a trench adjacent to a parking lot where the Paslow Building once stood when they came across the carcass.

Allan Arnold, Employee, BWS

Allan Arnold

“Around eight-thirty or so we started to dig the trench to install a new service when we across some bone parts. We weren’t really sure what it was but as the guys went through and they started clearing through the dirt and everything we started to find more and more pieces.”

Those fragments, together forming roughly seventy-five percent of the complete human frame, were found at a depth of approximately three feet. According to historian Fred Hunter, the shallowness of the earth covering the remains suggests that hundreds of years ago, presumably during the early settlement of what is now Belize City, a body may have surfaced on the northern bank of the Belize River.

Fred Hunter

Fred Hunter, Historian

“The way I figure it is that that area was on the edge of the river in the old days and it could have been a body that floated down the edge and got lodged in the mangrove and rotted there and the siltage over the two, three hundred years could have covered it and go down because three feet is too shallow for a dug grave.”

Notwithstanding Hunter’s theory, other historians suggest that the corpse may have been among the vestiges of the 1931 hurricane. In the aftermath of that natural disaster it is recorded that decomposing bodies were set aside there when families and friends were unable to identify them.

Isani Cayetano

“You guys have been working this area for the past several weeks, have you come across anything similar along North Front Street?”

Allan Arnold

“Well, I’m not really sure but the guys were telling me that down more they’ve found pieces of bones but they weren’t sure what it was so they threw them back [into] the hole when the hole was being closed back up. So I don’t really know. This is the first I’ve found so far, we’ve found so far.”

Hunter, in response to the aforementioned guess, says that he cannot recall that area ever being designated as a gravesite before or after the 1931 Hurricane.

Fred Hunter

“We know that in my lifetime, Hattie and [the hurricane of] 1931 that that street was in constant use, so it wouldn’t be used for a graveyard, if they buried it it would be six feet under. The fact is it’s not six feet under but only three feet underground means that it was not a buried body. The fact that the top of the skull with similar parts of the bones disappeared and from knees down it disappeared, the bigger bones, the jaw and the thigh bones and maybe the spinal column and the hip, those take longer to dissipate. So I think it’s been there, anybody’s guess, I say siltation a hundred years two hundred years.”

In the absence of a paleontologist or an archaeologist the remains could not be dated, however, scenes of crime personnel cordoned the perimeter before collecting the bones. Reporting for News Five, I am Isani Cayetano.

It is expected more remains may be found beneath the surface of North Front Street.

Channel 5

Bones on North Front Street

On Wednesday, November 28th, the Belize Water Services Limited 's employees were diligently doing their work on North Front Street in preparation for the paving of that thoroughfare when they came upon a strange find. Sometime around 9 a.m., the workers began exhuming what appeared to be human skeletal remains.

A gaggle of spectators soon gathered in front of the Caye Caulker Water Taxi Association where a trench to replace water mains was being dug. It was during that work that the workers, who began digging with a backhoe and then resorted to using shovels came up on the bones. The workers soon started to assemble the bones and it quickly became evident that it appeared to be human remains.

Director of Archaeology, Dr. Jaime Awe says that the bones appear to be the remains of someone buried after Hurricane Hattie. Those skeletal remains were not the only set found as further digging revealed more bones coming from the trench. The bones were taken to the morgue where they will be further examined.

The Guardian


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