FRANKFORT, Ky. — Nearly 70 sets of skeletal remains have been found at the construction site of the state Transportation Cabinet complex in the three weeks since the first bones were spotted in a dump truck.
David Pollack, an archaeologist with the Kentucky Heritage Council, which is overseeing the recovery, said the body count of 66 is much higher than had been expected after the first week of digging.
Officials at first thought the site could have been a cemetery used by the old state penitentiary, which was torn down following the flood of 1937. However, several more children’s skeletal remains were found Wednesday, “which makes me think this may not be an old prison cemetery,” Pollack said. “But we haven’t discounted anything.”
Archaeologists believe the people may have been buried between 1800 and 1850. Along with the human bones, archaeologists have found rings, coins and brass coffin handles in the excavation area, which is about the size of a football field.
The bodies will be taken to an archaeology lab at the University of Kentucky, where the bones will be cleaned and analyzed to determine gender and age.
“We’ll look for pathologies, diseases and any evidence of trauma they may have had,” Pollack said.
It has not been determined where the bodies will be taken for reburial.
A worker first saw bones in a dump truck at a dumpsite March 11. Franklin County coroner Mike Harrod and the state medical examiner’s office determined the truck came from the government construction site.
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