Bones, skeleton remains found at Philly development site

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Bones, skeleton remains found at Philly development site. Vernon Odom reports during Action News at 4:30 p.m. on June 30, 2017. (WPVI)

Archeologists are hoping to excavate a development site, and try and learn just who was buried there, and when in Philadelphia's Old City section.

The southeast corner of 2nd and Arch is still one of the most controversial development sites in Philadelphia.

Its history goes back to 1709, and it was the first Baptist church cemetery.

In 1859 most of the coffins and skeletal remains were moved to a cemetery in Cobbs Creek.

Now PMC, an apartment developer in town owns the site.

Back in the wintertime as they were digging - hundreds of coffins and skeletal remains were discovered.

Archeologist were able to get excavation halted until they could harvest the findings for research.

Douglas Mooney of the Philadelphia Archeologists forum said, "By looking at human remains, your body contains an incredible amount of information of what your life was like. A lot of the diseases that we suffer from during our lifetime, leave tell-tale marks on our bones. The bones preserve the information about nutrition, diet, and our overall health."

Suddenly this week. More coffins and bones were found in a corner. Experts say some go down as far as 14 feet, and they want more time see how many to pull them out for study at Rutgers University.

"Give archaeologists the time they need to do a proper search, to recover the burials that are still here. And to determine that there aren't still burials in other parts of the sites that we don't know about," Mooney said.

The city says it has no jurisdiction to lodge a stop work order,
but sources are telling Doug Mooney the PMC Company is willing to hire its own set of experts to determine what is left here, so they can move on with their project.

One neighbor with a Birdseye view of the site, took pictures in the winter, but doesn't want his face shown.

He said, "I rather they never build it, since it looks over my bedroom window. I'm glad they are at least doing something."
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