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Nov 28, 2012

The remains of an era; skeletons unearthed in the city

There was a major discovery of historical value in downtown Belize City this morning. Police cordoned off the area on North Front Street in front of the former Paslow building where two skeletons were unearthed by employees of Belize Water Services. While the event caught the attention of tourists and Belizeans in the area, archaeologists are yet to determine the origins of the remains. But News Five’s Isani Cayetano found out that there several theories as to how the skeletons ended in that particular area, which is being remodeled as part of the Sustainable Tourism Project.

 

Isani Cayetano, Reporting

Employees of Belize Water Services Ltd. were taken aback this morning upon unearthing the skeletal remains of a human being on North Front Street.  The crew, working with the BTB as part of its Sustainable Tourism Project, was excavating a trench adjacent to a parking lot where the Paslow Building once stood when they came across the carcass.

 

Allan Arnold, Employee, BWS

Allan Arnold

“Around eight-thirty or so we started to dig the trench to install a new service when we across some bone parts.  We weren’t really sure what it was but as the guys went through and they started clearing through the dirt and everything we started to find more and more pieces.”

 

Those fragments, together forming roughly seventy-five percent of the complete human frame, were found at a depth of approximately three feet.  According to historian Fred Hunter, the shallowness of the earth covering the remains suggests that hundreds of years ago, presumably during the early settlement of what is now Belize City, a body may have surfaced on the northern bank of the Belize River.

 

Fred Hunter

Fred Hunter, Historian

“The way I figure it is that that area was on the edge of the river in the old days and it could have been a body that floated down the edge and got lodged in the mangrove and rotted there and the siltage over the two, three hundred years could have covered it and go down because three feet is too shallow for a dug grave.”

 

Notwithstanding Hunter’s theory, other historians suggest that the corpse may have been among the vestiges of the 1931 hurricane.  In the aftermath of that natural disaster it is recorded that decomposing bodies were set aside there when families and friends were unable to identify them.

 

Isani Cayetano

“You guys have been working this area for the past several weeks, have you come across anything similar along North Front Street?”

 

Allan Arnold

“Well, I’m not really sure but the guys were telling me that down more they’ve found pieces of bones but they weren’t sure what it was so they threw them back [into] the hole when the hole was being closed back up.  So I don’t really know.  This is the first I’ve found so far, we’ve found so far.”

 

Hunter, in response to the aforementioned guess, says that he cannot recall that area ever being designated as a gravesite before or after the 1931 Hurricane.

 

Fred Hunter

“We know that in my lifetime, Hattie and [the hurricane of] 1931 that that street was in constant use, so it wouldn’t be used for a graveyard, if they buried it it would be six feet under.  The fact is it’s not six feet under but only three feet underground means that it was not a buried body.  The fact that the top of the skull with similar parts of the bones disappeared and from knees down it disappeared, the bigger bones, the jaw and the thigh bones and maybe the spinal column and the hip, those take longer to dissipate.  So I think it’s been there, anybody’s guess, I say siltation a hundred years two hundred years.”

 

In the absence of a paleontologist or an archaeologist the remains could not be dated, however, scenes of crime personnel cordoned the perimeter before collecting the bones. Reporting for News Five, I am Isani Cayetano.

 

It is expected more remains may be found beneath the surface of North Front Street. 

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12 Responses for “The remains of an era; skeletons unearthed in the city”

  1. Storm says:

    A fascinating historic mystery. I’m holding my breath for the outcome.

  2. Dante says:

    I found the actions of that guy from the Caye Caulker Water Taxi who was holding up the human bones and making reference to soup to be totally disrespectful and out of order. No one should be allowed to make a mockery of that situation. What a shame.

  3. Rod Breda says:

    More crime again, this dah all Dean Barrow fault, these two bodies show that his crime prevention program isnt working. Its obvious he sell out these two bodies with two pieces of silver wake up Belize…… is what my brother would have said if he wasnt on punishment. Unfortunately Rod will no longer be on here to comment as our mother has taken away his internet usage due to some Rated mhmm searches that were found on our computer. Please be advised that in the mean time i will providing comedic relief until he comes back in a week or so. So with that said …….. This dah Barrow fault

  4. Uncle Benji says:

    I remember the old Simon Lamb days when we use to march and hold bonfires at the Bridgefoot area. There use to be a chiclero camp there. Chicleros were violent ones, especially when they got drunk. After 1931 hurricane, the chiclero camp was moved to what is now #90 North Front Street. You will probably find human bones over there too.

  5. Fed Up says:

    Now how can one reach a decision that the bones are a fault of Mr. Borrow’s”failed crime prevention program”? Citizens need to know when is the right time to bash the government..
    Check the variable’s out>>>
    >>> Old Bones
    >>>Surly been there for many many years
    >>>Besides that street has been paved and in use for many many years
    >>>any “unusual activity” would have stirred people’s curiosity if it was recent (meaning 10-20yrs ago even longer)
    >>>our country have a history that could unearth bodies almost anywhere and anytime….

    Check the variables…

  6. Come On says:

    police scenes of crime? but they can’t solve present day murders, why are they getting involved with 200 year old bones, sounds slly to me.

  7. Rod says:

    No such luck rod Breda

  8. Nigel says:

    I remember in the early 80s when they were putting in the sewer system, bones and bottles were found on all of north front street. it was even on the front page of the newspapers.

  9. Coralblack says:

    Now the Stones and Bones are starting to cry out!

  10. Rod Ma says:

    Rod didnt i say no internet for a week??? these people are fed up with your stupid comments about the government ….how much time me and yuh pa have to tell yuh fi grow up and start act like the 39year old you are!!!lawd….this lee bwi could stress mi out!!!

  11. ceo says:

    Hunter’s explanation is way too sanitized and does not hold much water to me!

    Bones i n a shallow grave usually mean foul play. I am sure any underground work that was done in the area a depth of more than 3 feet needed to excavated. So why didn’t they find it when the Paslow Building was being built? The soil along the river I am sure was unsuitable to support a structure like Paslow Building so much soild had to be removed.

    One of the old Brits burried someon (one of his own or one of his plebs) in that shallow grave would be my guess!

  12. deedee says:

    Hmmm people Rod’s family is coming out 1 by 1, first da mi bredda now da moms the put in ih 2 cents. Rod u 39 years old & still live with yu ma & pa?????? :-) Moms u better make it a month caz ih nuh look like Rod have understanding.

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