May 6, 2014
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
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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