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Archaeologists find more bones along downtown rail route

By Michael Tsai

LAST UPDATED: 9:26 p.m. HST, Jan 13, 2013

Archaeologists for the city’s rail transit project unearthed another set of human remains Sunday as they worked on one of two remaining trenches in the proposed downtown corridor.

The bones were discovered near the federal building on Pohu­kaina Street close to where other remains were earlier found.

Work on the trench halted as archaeologists reported the finding to the State Historic Preservation Division.

Hinaleimoana Wong-Kalu of the Oahu Island Burial Council said initial indications were that the remains were a child’s, likely from pre-Western contact times.

The rail project has been on hold since August while a court-mandated archaeological inventory survey is completed. More than 230 trenches have already been dug. The trench in which the bones were found is one of an additional 18 the division requested.

Another burial was found off Hale­kau­wila Street in September. Bones from at least two people, in addition to a single, intact burial site, were uncovered in the area in October.

Department of Land and Natural Resources spokes­woman Debo­rah Ward said state archaeologists are expected to be on site this morning to assess the finding. Work to determine whether there are further remains will also continue, she said.

Project officials have been consulting with identified descendents of those whose remains have been uncovered and will work with them to propose a burial treatment plan once the survey is completed. That plan will be subject to approval from the burial council.

Wong-Kalu said it is the preference of those involved to allow the bones to remain where they were. She further said that Dan Grabauskas, executive director of the Hono­lulu Authority for Rapid Transportation, has given his assurance that accommodations can be made to allow that.

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