OUTSIDE DETROIT, MI -- Bones are now known to be human remains.
They appear to be from a "prehistorical burial," and the Oakland County Medical Examiner's office is helping archaeologists from the Michigan Department of Transportation to learn more about their origin.
"MDOT is consulting with Michigan Indian tribes about the remains and their proper treatment in accordance with federal and state laws," stated MDOT Archaeologist James A. Robertson in a press statement released Wednesday afternoon.
The bones were discovered during the ongoing Main Street Makeover, an effort to reconstruct downtown's Main Street, also known as M-150. The project began in the spring and will continue through fall.
The bones were found near the corner of Third and Main streets, said Rochester City Manager Jaymes Vettraino.
When they were discovered, the city notified archaeologists from the state, who removed the bones and returned them to their facilities for testing.
As part of the Main Street Makeover, water mains, sidewalks and the road itself are being completely replaced, meaning workers have had to dig far below the surface. So far, vintage soda bottles, horseshoes and other relics have been excavated and put on display for downtown visitors to see.
"This is a really great opportunity to learn about our town's history; it's not often you get to go 8 feet below a town," Vettraino said earlier this year, before the project began.
The possibility of an Indian burial ground downtown was recently documented by the history blog "Remember Rochester."
The blog quotes from an 1899 newspaper account of a discovery near Third and Main streets. "Last Saturday morning workmen were engaged in deepening the cellar under the stone store. ... After they had taken up the stone they dug down and about two feet under the patched portion they unearthed two skeletons, one with the head to the east, the other to the west. The bones were gathered up and it was not long before the matter was noised about town and a large crowd gathered to view the remains. "
Read the complete story here.
Rochester Patch will keep you updated when we learn more about the remains found under Main Street.