Human bone discovered along rail route

Human bone discovered along rail route
Ashley Obrey
Ashley Obrey

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - State officials say workers digging a trench along the rail route in Honolulu discovered a human bone on Thursday.

A construction worker tells Hawaii News Now that the bone was found three feet down in "sandy sediment."

State Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR) spokesperson Deborah Ward says the iwi was found Wednesday in a non-burial context.

After workers discovered the bone, they put a steel plate on top of it and continued to work further down the street.

In late August, the State Supreme court ruled in favor of a woman suing to protect ancient Hawaiian burials along the planned route, bringing the project to a halt. Workers have continued to work along the route as part of a required archeological survey.

The State Historic Preservation Division released the following statement Thursday afternoon:

On September 12 a single human bone fragment was found during archaeological inventory survey of Phase IV City Center (Kaka'ako) of the Honolulu Rapid Transit Corridor.

State Historic Preservation Division (SHPD) and the Oahu Island Burial Council (OIBC) Kona Moku members were contacted on September 12 and did a site visit on the morning of September 13.  

SHPD and the OIBC have agreed to leave the bone fragment in place for the time being, and have asked the archaeological firm to continue excavating the surrounding area.
Excavation around the bone fragment will provide better information about the cultural layer in which the bone fragment was found and how best to plan for this area.  

HART executive director and CEO Daniel Grabauskas released the following statement:

"We are working closely with the State Historic Preservation Division, the Oahu Island Burial Council and other stakeholders to ensure that iwi kupuna are treated respectfully, with great sensitivity and in accordance with state burial laws. This is not unexpected, in fact we have a protocol in place that is the result of months of collaboration and consultation with all parties, and we will continue to work together throughout this process."

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