A Canadian couple who was attempting to build a fence discovered a 400-year-old skeleton when they started digging holes in their backyard.
Ken Campbell initially unearthed some of the bones and simply put them aside because he thought they belonged to an animal. When his wife, Nicole Sauve, noticed the bones, she wanted to keep digging.
“I said, ‘They’re not animal bones, Ken," she said. "Let’s dig some more and see what we can find.’”
They continued to dig and ended up discovering the skeleton of an aboriginal woman. According to forensic anthropologist, Michael Spence, who was called in to examine the skeleton, the bones belonged to a woman who was about 24 years old and probably died in the late 1500s or early 1600s.
Although Sauve was glad to get that information, she was not too happy about what she found out next. Under Ontario’s Funeral, Burial and Cremation Services Act, property owners are responsible for the costs of an archeological assessment if human remains are found on their land — meaning Sauve was obligated to pay $5,000, TheStar.com reported.
She has appealed to the mayor of her town to foot the bill.
“I did the right thing by her ... and this is what’s happening,” she said.
Suave said she has heard that a local group is trying to raise money for her, but she has not heard from anyone yet directly.
“I just know that I'll have to get a loan if nobody steps up to the plate because no matter what, I don't have tons of money to hand out,” she said.
According to Sauve, other people have told her that they would no longer tell anyone if they found bones on their property to avoid having to pay for an archeological assessment of their own.
“That is awful,” she said. “God forbid you have a murder victim, and you cover them up. Never will that person be brought home, never will their family have closure.”