Remains found during Haines Highway reconstruction confirmed to be human


April 28, 2022

Bone fragments found two weeks ago during construction along the Haines Highway were determined to be human, a state spokesperson confirmed on Monday with the CVN.

The remains, which consisted of two bones—a rib and right tibia—were unearthed by the highway work crew and on-site archeologist on April 11.

The bones “appeared to be very old and weathered,” said Alaska Department of Health and Social Services spokesperson Clinton Bennett.

The exact location of the discovery hasn’t been disclosed publicly to prevent looting. Highway reconstruction is occurring between 12.2 and 20 Mile.

When the remains were discovered, DOT presumed they were human — in keeping with its policy around cultural sensitivity — but there was uncertainty about the true nature of the bones.

“The unearthed remains were sent to the State Medical Examiner’s office and were then analyzed by a State of Alaska Archaeologist/Human Osteologist who positively identified them as human,” said Alaska Department of Transportation spokesperson Sam Dapcevich.

He added that work in the area near the highway where they were found is still on hold “while DOT consults with local Tribes to establish a path forward.”

Chilkoot Indian Association council president James Hart said the Tribe is awaiting more details about the remains from further tests, like carbon dating, which could take several weeks.


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