Second skeleton unearthed at Santa Rosa worksite
by Susana Hayward
San Antonio Express-News 12/03/97
For the second time this year, a skeleton has been unearthed during construction work at Santa Rosa Hospital, in an area that used to be a Catholic cemetery during the 1800's.
The skeleton described as a "jumbled, broken, mess," probably that of a man, was unearthed November 20 by archaeologist after it was discovered by construction crews digging a trench for a new drainage pipe.
Brit Bousman, assistant director at UTSA's Center for Archaeological Research, said Wednesday the skeleton's skull was resting on an old, clay drainage pipe that apparently transversed the coffin.
"Somebody knew about it a long time ago," he said. "It was torn up pretty bad. We recorded what we could. It was a jumbled, broken mess. It wasn't a pretty picture.
In June, the skeleton of a woman and an infant were unearthed in the same area, under the hospital's Ayres Building, where there was a campo santo, or Catholic cemetery, from 1808 until 1860.
Santa Rosa spokeswoman Linda McClung said the skeleton was found about 15 to 20 feet from where the woman was buried.
The woman was found with a ring still on a finger. Two pendants and rosary beads were next to her. A physical anthropologist from Texas A&M University who specializes in human remains is to determine the age, sex and ethnic origin of the woman.
Bousman said the new remains "are quite large" indicating it's probably a big man. He said there could be more buried at the site.
The cemetery was moved in 1920 to the San Fernando Cemetery No. 1. Milam Park covers much of the original cemetery.
"We think there's more. The problem is, we don't know where." He said. "When the cemetery was moved in the 1920s, they did it in a very short period of time and there's no way they could have gotten all. They probably got all the marked graves, but there many unmarked graves."
He said UTSA archaeologists are working with the hospital to draw up a proposal to look for more remains before construction is finished.
"We can carefully scrape off the area. You can do this quickly," Bousman said. "If there were burials, you should see the grave pit. That would show up different in the soil."
McClung said that after the New Year, the hospital will look into "what it would take to do that."
The remains were taken to the archaeological center for study and will be reburied afterward.
Santa Rosa is undergoing a $30 million renovation that probably will take two more years.