CranialBones.jpgCrews removing soil from a historic building in San Francisco’s Fort Mason compound on Monday uncovered human remains believed to date back to the Civil War era, a U.S. Park Service spokeswoman said.

Several bones, along with buttons and bottle pieces, were found late Monday afternoon at a site near what used to be a hospital at the former military installation, Park Service spokeswoman Alexandra Picavet said.

“It is remains from multiple bodies,” she said. “We don’t know how many. That will take a long time to figure out.”

However, she said, “It’s not a mass grave. It’s not hundreds.”

Soil contaminated by lead paint was being removed as part of the renovation of a historic building at the site, according to Picavet.

An archaeologist who had been monitoring the renovation project is now working to document and catalogue the objects, as well as “stabilize” them for further research, Picavet said.

The bones were discovered “a couple feet” below the ground, she said. It’s not yet known why they were there and not in a cemetery.

“We are working to figure out those details,” Picavet said.

Researchers will also look at historical records to see if they yield any information.

Preliminary indications are the bones could date from between the 1850s to the 1880s, Picavet said.

Park Service officials are not publicly releasing the exact location of Monday’s find, because of the potential for disturbing or looting it.

“Right now we’re clearing the site of any sensitive materials and artifacts,” Picavet said.
The archaeological site is protected under federal law, Picavet noted.

Ari Burack, Bay City News

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