New Historian

Excavation Halted After Discovery of Ancient Remains

Santa Rosa Children's Hospital panorama (3)

<![CDATA[Ancient human remains discovered at a dig at The Children’s Hospital of San Antonio in Texas have resulted in the excavation efforts being temporaily halted. According to local ABC affiliate KSAT 12 News, hospital officials announced that the remains are almost certainly human in origin, stemming from an old cemetery that had once been located on the site. Upon discovery of the bone fragments, Dr. Randall Frost, medical examiner for Bexar County, was called in to shed some light on the remains; Dr. Frost determined that the remains were ancient. In light of the new discovery, researchers from the Center for Archaeological Research from the University of Texas at San Antonio (UTSA) will be dispatched to do a more thorough examination of the site. Meanwhile, Dr. Frost has plans to conduct detailed evaluations of the bone fragments to discern as much information as he can in regard to the remains. Located on the site of a Catholic cemetery dating from the nineteenth century, the construction of the hospital necessitated relocating the cemetery when the facilities in their existing form opened in 1959. Prior to that, the San Antonio region had a long history of providing specialized hospital care to children, as the Sisters of Charity of the Incarnate World opened Santa Rosa Infirmary in 1869. Less than a decade later, the infirmary began to provide specific pediatric medicine when four orphans were taken in. A full pediatric unit was opened shortly thereafter; the infirmary was then renamed Santa Rosa Hospital in 1930. The Children’s Hospital is a legacy of that early hospital system, with the CHRISTUS Santa Rosa organization, the only Catholic faith-based, non-profit health care system located in the San Antonio area, still operating the hospital. The current excavations stem from a 2012 initiative to expand The Children’s Hospital, renovating the campus and constructing an 800,000 square foot complex to the tune of $135 million; the remains were discovered in the current hospital’s gardens. When the bone fragments were originally studied, hospital officials immediately called the authorities, ostensibly fearing that construction crews might have uncovered a possible crime scene. While initial investigations have ruled out any modern crimes, additional excavation work is on hiatus until Dr. Frost and UTSA researchers can put the matter to rest officially. A press release from the Children’s Hospital stressed the organization’s ties to the Catholic faith, remarking that all steps were being taken to treat the remains with care and the respect they were due. Currently, there are no plans for the ultimate fate of the discovered bone fragments, though the possibility that they will be re-interred after a thorough investigation remains high. The city of San Antonio – and Texas as a whole – has strong Catholic roots. Originally founded as an apostolic prefecture in 1836, the region fell under the aegis of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Galveston–Houston in 1847. San Antonio became its own archdiocese in 1926 and today serves no less than 134 parishes. ]]>

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