UK halts construction after uncovering human remains

Human remains uncovered at University of Kentucky construction site
Published: Aug. 18, 2023 at 10:26 AM EDT
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LEXINGTON, Ky. (WKYT) - Construction crews at the University of Kentucky have uncovered suspected century-old skeletal human remains.

UK Police Chief Joe Monroe confirmed the discovery Friday morning.

On Saturday, UK released a statement saying construction will be temporarily stalled to further assess the remains.

UK spokesperson Jay Blanton said in the statement:

“The University of Kentucky is temporarily halting construction work outside the Gray Design Building (formerly the Reynolds Building). We will be working with UK experts and other officials as appropriate to ascertain the nature of remains that have been reported in recent weeks to the Fayette County Coroner. Our commitment is to be sensitive to any issues that arise and report fully and transparently what we determine. Work inside the building, which is nearly complete, will continue.”

He said crews found the bones at a construction site on Scott Street.

Chief Monroe said that finding bones around this area is actually not that unusual.

“Those different items of human remains or other historical items is not really unusual to find,” said Monroe. “It’s part of our history, and we turn all of that over to the coroner’s office or the historical society.”

Chief Monroe said he was advised by Fayette County Coroner Gary Ginn that the land may have been a burial ground in the past.

“In 30 years here, this isn’t the first time we’ve found bones when we’ve been digging around the campus. You’ve got to remember this used to be a rural area before Lexington expanded,” said Monroe.

While this discovery is unsettling, Chief Monroe said the community is not at risk, and no foul play is involved.

“These are not fresh bones. These are many, many, many years old. I mean, it could be 100 years old, we don’t know. So it’s not anything that anyone needs to be worried about,” said Monroe.

Construction began last year and is still set to end sometime in 2024.

Chief Monroe says that due to the age of the bones, it is unlikely that the coroner will be able to identify who they belong to.