Workers from the St. Louis County Public Works department discovered what appeared to be a human bone and a series of old coffins made of wood while digging on Arlington Avenue in Duluth last week.
The project included a scheduled dig to specifically search for human remains on the site of a former cemetery, which served as burial grounds for about 5,000 people who died at the former St. Louis County Poor Farm from 1891 to 1947.
According to St. Louis County officials, the bone was found outside of a coffin, and they believe it is simply remnants from a grave relocation project dating back to the 1960s. The coffins, however, were empty.
As a precaution, archaeologists will arrive in the next couple of weeks to research the area in an effort to find out if there are any more human bones.
"Records have indicated that some graves had been relocated from this area many decades ago due to previous road projects.
So we felt it was important to take this extra step now out of respect for any potential remains and to ensure we wouldn't make similar discoveries once the project was underway," said St. Louis County public works engineer Steve Krasaway.
The digging project will prepare the public works department for a job in 2020 that will result in a wider roadway on Rice Lake Road north of Arrowhead Road, in addition to improvements to that intersection.