Images of Kitsap County
Public Communications (MS-11)
614 Division Street, Port Orchard, WA
Phone: 360.337.4598
Date: May 6, 2014
Contact: Rebecca Pirtle
Commissioners’ Office
  (360) 337-4650,
No: 2014-052

Human remains discovered at Point No Point

While contractors were getting a parking lot resurfacing project underway May 5 at Point No Point County Park, human remains were discovered. A complete bone and five fragments were uncovered while removing landscaping from the adjacent cottage that the county leases out as a residence.

The contractor, RV Associates, had an archeologist on staff to assess the remains and the Kitsap County Sheriff’s Office and Kitsap County Coroner’s Office were dispatched to the park to assess whether the bones were animal or human. After it was determined the bones were more than likely human and appeared to be quite old, Coroner Greg Sandstrom contacted Dr. Kathy Taylor, a forensic anthropologist with the King County Medical Examiner’s Office, and electronically sent her photos of the remains. Dr. Taylor confirmed the bones were human and notified State Physical Anthropologist Dr. Guy Tasa of the Washington State Department of Archaeology and Historic Preservation on behalf of Kitsap County as is required.

Dr. Tasa responded to the Point No Point site and determined it to be archeological, not forensic. Because the remains are old and not the result of any recent criminal activity, the Coroner’s Office and the Kitsap County Sheriff’s Office are no longer leading an investigation. Dr. Tasa met at the site this morning with Parks staff and representatives from the S’Klallam Tribe and Department of Ecology, which provided a grant to Kitsap County Public Works for the stormwater improvements taking place to the parking lot.

With the determination that the remains are non-forensic, the Department of Archaeology and Historic Preservation takes over jurisdiction and will conduct laboratory testing to ascertain whether they are Native American or non-Native. Dr. Tasa said he expects test results will be available early next week. Findings will then be reported to affected tribes or other involved groups for the preservation, excavation and disposition of the remains.

The parking lot at Point No Point was already closed to the public for the resurfacing project though the park remains open. A small portion near the entrance of the lot is cordoned off while the investigation continues there. Work on the rest of the parking lot will continue.

“You can never go into a project expecting to have a discovery of this nature,” commented Kitsap County Commissioner Rob Gelder. “Parks staff and the Coroner’s Office responded to the site and secured it immediately, calling in the appropriate authorities. We are respectful of the remains and any archeological significance they contain, and will work with the state to ensure they are handled accordingly.”

In 2007, the Kitsap County Parks Department had an archaeological and ethnographic assessment completed on Point No Point County Park, which includes the Point No Point Light Station, owned by the U.S. Coast Guard and leased to the county. The assessment included extensive subsurface testing. Though no significant archaeological sites were identified, the potential for cultural and archaeological deposits exists.

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Rebecca Pirtle
Communications & Volunteer Services Coordinator
Kitsap County Commissioners’ Office

Last Updated:  May 27, 2014