Old human bones found near highway in Pacific County
Discovery of what appears to be old human remains at the site of a former American Indian village — a spot where Lewis and Clark also...
CHINOOK, Pacific County — Discovery of what appears to be old human remains at the site of a former American Indian village — a spot where Lewis and Clark also camped two centuries ago — has forced the suspension of a highway project that's been previously delayed.
Workers excavating a trench for utility lines uncovered what appeared to be human bones under the Station Camp project site, near U.S. Highway 101 about two miles west of the Astoria Bridge.
Discovery of the remains brought work to a halt Tuesday.
Officials from various agencies and the Chinook Indian Nation believe the remains likely belong to a former inhabitant of the large Indian village that once occupied the site.
"We have to go on the presumption at this point that they are Native American," said Dave Nicandri, executive director of the Washington State Historical Society.
Two Pacific County sheriff's deputies determined that the remains were not of recent origin and turned the investigation over to the National Park Service and state Transportation Department.
"It was obvious to me looking at it" that the remains were very old, Chief Deputy Ron Clark said.
The bones were left in place and covered until further investigation could pinpoint their origin.
Jim Sayce, project coordinator for the historical society and liaison with the Chinook tribe, said archeologists will likely be called in to study the remains.
The highway project is rerouting a one-third-mile section of the highway to straighten out a dangerous curve and to make room for a new riverfront park.
The project was delayed last January by the discovery of wooden planks believed to have once been part of a Chinook house. Construction was allowed to resume after further archaeological studies were conducted.
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