Body From 1880’s Cemetery Uncovered During Rattlesnake School Excavation
On Monday, Sirius Construction workers uncovered human remains while excavating for a water main in the Rattlesnake area.
Public Information Officer with the Missoula County Sheriff's Office, Brenda Bassett said workers contacted law enforcement immediately.
"We had a construction crew that was digging a line for a new water main for a project involving Rattlesnake School," Bassett said. "At about 9:30 a.m. they uncovered a set of human remains. Law enforcement was contacted along with the Missoula County Coroner. After he arrived and viewed the remains, he contacted an anthropologist from the University of Montana so they could assist in the recovery of the remains."
Bassett said historians note that there was a cemetery in that area in the late 19th century.
"A lot of people who know the history of that area understand it was once called the Western Montana Poor Farm Cemetery, and so a number of people were buried there in the 1880's," she said. "There have been other projects where human remains have been dug up. When the coroner arrived, he determined that there was no criminal element in this incident, and so now we'll just focus on ensuring those remains are handled properly. The UM anthropologist will remain on the scene for the remainder of the project, in case any other remains are discovered."
It was not known if the remains were male or female.