Construction Crew Discovers Likely Native American Burial Ground in Chatham

Photo courtesy: John Viola/Viola Associates

CHATHAM – A pool construction crew uncovered what appears to be a section of a Native American burial ground in Chatham Thursday.

Workers with Viola Associates of Hyannis were conducting site work about three feet down when they unearthed the bones.

“My guys started setting the bones aside. They thought it might have been animals at first. Then they did a little more handwork in the area and came across a skull, so they cleaned that off and found the rest of the skeleton attached to it,” said company owner John Viola.

Photo courtesy: John Viola/Viola Associates

Two more skeletons were also found.

Viola said they immediately notified Chatham police who put him touch with the Massachusetts Commission on Indian Affairs.

An official from the state agency and a representative from the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe arrived at the site Friday morning to further investigate the discovery.

“They will continue excavation on Monday to determine if there are any more (burial remains) in the area,” said Viola.

He said that section of Chatham was known to have several Native American burial sites.

The grave site Viola’s crew found was just outside the pool itself. To protect the remains, he said they would likely encase the area in concrete to protect the burial ground.

“We would like to protect them,” he said.

Viola said that in all his years working on Cape Cod they have never come across such an extensive Indian burial ground.

Construction on the pool will eventually resume.

By MATT PITTA, News Director




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