Remains found on building site
Workers excavating a water and sewer line in front of Goldstar Resort’s Sandcastle condominium development in the 7800 block of Birch Bay Drive found human remains on Monday morning. “Our permits call for archaeological monitoring,” Goldstar’s Peter Spencer said, “and this material came to light while we were installing the water line. It’s basically an intact skeleton that wasn’t too far under the surface.”
After talking to their consulting archaeologists Goldstar stopped work on the ditch and contacted people from the Lummi Nation, the Washington state office of archaeology and historic preservation, the Whatcom County sheriff and the Whatcom County medical examiner.
Whatcom County medical examiner Gary Goldfogel said that the law is that when human remains are found, the area is considered to be a crime scene until the medical examiner determines that the remains are older than 50 years. “The sheriff’s deputies brought in bone fragments that were human and older than 50 years,” Goldfogel said. As a precaution he had earlier urged the sheriff’s deputies who responded to “rope off the area,” Goldfogel said, until a determination had been made.
Once Goldfogel made his evaluation, the area ceased to be considered a crime scene and the Washington State Office of Archaeology and Historic Preservation (OAHP) became the lead agency. OAHP archaeologist Stephanie Kramer said that normally such sites are not publicized to prevent vandalism, “so it becomes the responsibility of the owner to secure the site.”
Kramer said that the discovery will not necessarily close down construction “as long as all the parties can sit down and work it out, it may be a delay, but if there’s a way to work around it then it should be OK.”