Homeowners Digging Fence Make Startling Discovery — and Get Stuck With $5,000 Bill

A Canadian couple digging a fence earlier this month dredged up more than just dirt and roots. They found the skeleton of a 400-year-old aboriginal woman.

But that wasn’t their only surprise: she ended up coming with a $5,000 price tag as well.

According to the Toronto Star, Ken Campbell dug up a few bones at first and at his wife’s prodding, they looked for more.

“I said, ‘They’re not animal bones, Ken. Let’s dig some more and see what we can find,’” Nicole Sauve, told the Star.

400 year old skeleton
The couple from Ontario are appealing a law that requires them to pay for excavation of their yard after a historic skeleton was discovered. (Photo: Nicole Sauve, via The Star)

Upon discovering a full human skeleton, the coupled called in forensic anthropologist Michael Spence. Here’s more from the Star on what he concluded:

Spence told the Star that the skeleton was that of a woman who was about 24 years old when she died, probably in the late 1500s or early 1600s.

The condition of her teeth led him to suspect she was part of hunting, gathering and fishing society.

The couple lives by the Blue Water Bridge, an area that once was the centre of an Ojibwa trade network. Spence said the woman is probably a descendant of those merchants.

It was after this assessment though, which discovered no foul play, that the couple learned they would be responsible for a full archaeological investigation of their yard, per Ontario’s Funeral, Burial and Cremation Services Act. When all was said and done, it cost them $5,000.

The couple is appealing the mayor to foot the bill, according to the Star.

They could appeal to the Registrar of Cemeteries, which could decide if the excavation was an “undue financial burden.” A member of the province’s parliament told the paper he spoke with the minister of consumer services who said they will ensure the family doesn’t have to pay for the survey of their property.

As for the skeleton, it was reburied at a Aamjiwnaang First Nation cemetery.

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