A mass grave that may date back to the early 1900s has been discovered in Schuylkill Haven, Pennsylvania, by a construction worker while working on Route 61, 89 miles northwest of Philadelphia.
The mass grave contains old human bones, and may have been the location of an old cemetery, FOX 4 reports.
“They told us it possibly could have been a burial ground from many, many years ago, 100 years ago, so evidently it is,” Joan Bachman, who has owned the property with her husband since 1997, said.
In 1918, 1,600 Schuylkill County residents died from Spanish influenza. Historians believe the remains could belong to those victims, PIX 11 reports.
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“There was genuine panic,” Tom Drogalis of the Schuylkill County Historical Society said. “Everything closed — schools, hospitals, the only thing left open were drug stores.”
“They did, indeed have several mass potters’ graves, if you will, at the time,” Drogalis said. “And one of them was identified as being in Schuylkill Haven.”
The bones are being unearthed and a forensics archeology team from Mercyhurst University will run DNA tests to try and identify who the remains belonged to.
The bones are easily identifiable, including a femur, tibia, and a jaw bone.
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After the research is complete, county officials plan to hold a proper burial for the remains.