September 23, 2019
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Bones found at hospital construction site were most likely cow and pig bones

Linda Coan O'Kresik | BDN
Linda Coan O'Kresik | BDN
Northern Light Health Eastern Maine Medical Center in Bangor, Maine.

The bones found last month at a construction site on the campus of Northern Light Eastern Maine Medical Center in Bangor were most likely cow and pig bones, a University of Maine anthropologist said Wednesday.

The bones were found July 25 by Mark Stevens, the hospital’s director of fire and employee safety, while he was inspecting a construction site behind the Greystone building on the medical center’s State Street campus. Construction was halted for about a day until it could be determined whether the bones were human remains.

They were examined by Marcella Sorg, the state’s forensic anthropologist who is affiliated with the Margaret Chase Smith Policy Center at UMaine in Orono. She determined that the bones were not human remains.

“We have not definitively identified each species,” she said Wednesday. “These were bone fragments of animals that had been butchered, so were probably food bones.”

To positively identify the species, the bones would have to be compared to bones in the university zooarchaeology reference collection, she said.

“Usually we don’t ID species as long as we know it’s not human,” Sorg said.

The Greystone building is the oldest on the hospital campus and housed Bangor General Hospital, the precursor to EMMC that was founded in 1892. The medical center began the construction project in June to reinforce a retaining wall in the area, according to hospital spokeswoman Amy Kenney.

Other items found during excavation appear to date back to the early 1900s, she said.


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