Details of archeological discoveries along rail route revealed

By Catherine Cruz
Published On: Nov 14 2012 04:56:00 PM HST

New human remains found along rail route may affect the transit project's design.

HONOLULU -

"We do not want the iwi removed, period," said Paulette Kaleikini.

Kaleikini successfully sued to block construction of the rail project until after an archeological survey of the route is completed.

This weekend, Kaleikini was called to a site where archeologists discovered a human skull bone in a parking lot behind the Sports Authority and Ross stores. It is where a transit station is planned.

"I would ask for further trenching or testing in the area. Just because you found the cranial doesn't mean the rest of the body isn’t there," said Kaleikini.

But Kaleikini is also asking that the city not disturb an area on Halekauwila street where a full set of remains, possibly 200 years old, was discovered.

"The first thing before we expand the excavation, is to talk with project engineers to avoid further disturbance of that area -- that is the discussion that is going on right now," said Matt McDermott, project manager for Cultural Surveys.

In other trenches in Chinatown, McDermott told the burial council his team found the complete remains of a horse, well as human remains of an adult, a juvenile and an infant.

"Not a large number of bones or bone fragments enough to fit in my hand, but representative of three individuals," said McDermott.

All the remains are being kept in place, until a treatment plan is completed.

It is in the urban core, and in Kakaako where there's a strong possibility crews will unearth mass burials.

Many people may not realize that previous discovered remains were reburied here at the corner of Mother Waldron Park.  So why not do the same for these recent discoveries?

The difference, Kaleikini maintains, is that the previous finds along Halekauwila were inadvertent.

"The EIS needs to be done before designing so you can work around the iwi, not have us move the iwi to accommodate your project," Kaleikini said.

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