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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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News >  Spokane

Human remains to be reburied under city street

From staff reports

Call it the Tomb of the Unknown Spokanite.

Concrete will soon seal a patch of earth on Division Street left bare since construction crews unearthed a pioneer-era burial site earlier this month.

When parts of the street were torn up during construction on Third Avenue, crews ran into human bones and found pieces of wood and square nails that anthropologists said were likely the remains of a coffin.

No records of the burial exist, but historians said they believe it took place during the 1880s, when that piece of land would have been far from the city center.

Anthropologists from Eastern Washington University examined the scene and suggested the city simply leave the remains in place and continue with the project. However, state preservation and archaeology officials put a hold on repavement until they checked to see if the site fell under their jurisdiction.

They added the site to a list of historic locations in Washington and made sure that the details of the archaeological find – including the exact GPS coordinates of the location – will be preserved.

After state officials finished their work, the city got the OK to continue the construction, said Tom Arnold, director of engineering services for the city.

Crews have already filled the spot with soil and are expected to pour concrete and open the road for drivers sometime this week. No marker or monument is planned.

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