28. An Old Grenade Found in a Boston Construction Site
Bomb threats are taken very seriously, as they should be. So when construction workers found a grenade at their worksite in May 2016, it’s safe to say they took it very seriously. The workers were excavating a dirt embankment to build a concrete retaining wall along Queen Anne Road when they found a rusty metal grenade with white lettering along the side. One worker called his boss, who promptly told him to call the police. No one touched the grenade, which is the safest thing to do when you’re staring a missile in the face.
Boston State Police was able to identify it as a rifle grenade and removed it for disposal out of town. They said it was probably a device for training purposes now.
When Ericka Karner was having her home renovated, construction workers found a small coffin under the garage. There were no identifying marks, so they nicknamed the girl in the coffin “Miranda.” They believed burial took place around 120 years earlier. She was thought to be left behind when the Odd Fellows cemetery moved away. When Ericka wanted to help bury her, the city wouldn’t allow it because she didn’t have a death certificate, so an organization called Garden of Innocence, which provides burials for unidentified children, stepped in to help determine Miranda’s identity. After nearly a year, they were able to identify her as Edith Howard Cook, who died on October 13, 1876, as a result of a protein deficiency, which would be easily curable today.
Until Edith’s burial was adequate, Ericka and her husband, in addition to the construction workers, said they heard toddler footsteps on the second floor. Now, Edith and her coffin rest peacefully in Colma’s Green Lawn Cemetery.
Civilians first discovered fossilized dinosaur eggs in Heyuan in a construction site and mistakenly thought they were stones. Eggs have been found at multiple construction sites, like the batch of 43 eggs, with 19 of them intact. The project was then halted to see how many more were in the opening and how many they could preserve. The city calls itself the Home of Dinosaurs and has over 17,000 fossilized dinosaur eggs. Other dinosaur-related discoveries in Heyuan include dinosaur bones, skeletons, and footprints.
Construction crews working on single-family homes in the Santa Cruz mountains have discovered whale remains believed to date back to four million years ago. The construction site, located in Scotts Valley, now has a small team of paleontologists working to completely free the whale, estimated to be around 25 feet in length. The scientists have covered the bones in plaster to hold them in place and protect them during excavation. Not only is it the first whale of its age, but it is also the first mostly intact whale, which is what makes it so unique, says paleontologist Scott Armstrong.
These contractors were lucky not to have to deal with human bones – instead, they discovered dozens of fossils from the Ice Age. Cornerstone Communities, a San Diego area contracting company, was developing a 636 unit subdivision in Carlsbad, California when they stumbled upon these ice age fossils. They’ve discovered skulls and partial skeletons from a bison, a woolly mammoth, an antique horse, and an antique turtle. California law does require a paleontologist be on-site when large amounts of dirt are being moved in case they find a fossil, so they quickly addressed the process in this situation.
Before construction even began on this project, archaeologists were brought on for an archaeological survey to clear the way. It quickly became apparent that there was more than met the eye at this particular site. By the time they finished, they had found more than 4,000 tools created over 10,000 years ago. Some of the devices even revealed traces of the food the users were eating, like bison, deer, bear, sheep, and salmon! The project was initially set to restore the salmon habitat in Bear Creek, but they delayed it as they attempt to protect and preserve the remaining artifacts.
The City of New York knew it could encounter human remains, which is why the group worked with archaeologists from the beginning of its project to install a water main. As workers dug near Washington Square Park, they found two burial chambers housing crypts thought to be over 200 years old. From 1797 to 1825, the area served as a public burial ground, which easily explains the dozens of bones found remaining in the field to this day. City officials worked to revise their construction plan to avoid any impact to the burial vault, which likely included changing the course of the subterranean pipes.
35. Pre-1906 Earthquake Chinatown Artifacts Found in Subway Construction
The Central Subway project, a line that would ultimately link Chinatown and South of Market in San Francisco, led to the discovery of what turned out to be 19th-century industrial sewing machines. They believed these sewing machines were used in the basement of a Chinatown factory that likely burned down or collapsed in the 1906 earthquake and ensuing fire. Sonoma State University was one of several archaeological consultants hired to assist with the excavation and analysis.
A sealed glass time capsule that bears the hand-written note “Please do not open until 2957 AD,” has been found on the MIT campus by workers building the new nano-building. It contains a letter to the people of the next millennium and historical artifacts from the year 1957 when they initially buried it. Its design reflects that of the Westinghouse Time Capsule, buried at the 1939 World Fair.
According to MIT, this is one of eight time capsules the university has buried to commemorate various events, like the 1939 time capsule buried to celebrate the installation of a new cyclotron. They meant to recover the capsule in 1989, but they forgot about it under the 36,000-pound reinforced concrete slab.
In August 2015, while digging on Route 61 in Schuykill County, construction crews discovered a decade-old mass human burial site believed to have belonged to victims of the Spanish Influenza. Approximately 1,600 locals died in one month from the virus, and it was not uncommon for people to be buried in large unmarked graves like this one, as grave diggers could not keep up with the demand for individual graves.
They conducted DNA tests on the remains and gave proper burials to the individuals in the graves.
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