3rd Gold Rush corpse found in Dawson City
Bodies are likely of executed Gold Rush convicts: archeologist
Last Updated: Monday, November 8, 2010 | 2:45 PM CST
Archeological crews in Dawson City, Yukon, have unearthed a third coffin containing human remains that likely date back to the Klondike Gold Rush.
Yukon government archeologist Greg Hare said the third coffin and corpse were discovered at a downtown construction site on Saturday, as work crews were finishing the recovery of two other coffins found on Friday.
"Almost certainly these are the remains of the individuals who were executed — Gold Rush vintage," Hare told CBC News on Monday.
The site of the unearthed coffins is where the town's sewage treatment plant is being built, behind the historic Dawson City RCMP detachment.
Hare said archival tests will be done to determine the identities of the bodies and when they died.
There has been widespread speculation that the site was a secret burial ground where the North West Mounted Police — the precursor to today's RCMP — buried upwards of 10 convicts who were hanged at the height of the Gold Rush.
Historical records show that three men were hanged on the same day in August 1899. However, it's not yet known if the three discovered corpses are of those men.
Hare said community members in Dawson City would be consulted on what to do with the remains.
"We have a piece of Klondike Gold Rush history here. But at the same time, these are the remains of people who lived and died, and we have to be very respectful of that," Hare said.
"What happens now is we begin a process of working with the community — with the First Nation, with the City of Dawson — and discuss how people would like to see things move from here."
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