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I found bones at Monocacy - General Civil War Talk - Civil War Talk - Civil War Interactive Discussion Board
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 Posted: Wed Nov 1st, 2006 10:18 pm
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Regina
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I was taking a walk on the battlefield at Monocacy with my sister in July.  We were on one of the park's walking trails.  There had been very heavy rains, and flooding, just two weeks earlier.  Well, we found several bones--we were on the trail--not purposely "relic hunting".  We put them in a pail to soak in water back at her apartment in Frederick.  The next day I went back to Monocacy (without the bones) but I told one of the park rangers about finding the bones.  I was going to get the bones to show them if they wanted to see them.  The ranger seemed uninterested and said "they must be animal bones".  I recently matched them up to a human skeleton in our local high school science classroom.  They match arm, leg, and shoulder bones exactly.  In fact, one bone is cut, like an amputation.  I'm wondering what to do with them now.   I travel to historic sites frequently and spend many weekends and holidays placing flowers on Revolutionary War and Civil War soldiers' graves and monuments in many cemeteries and battlefields.  Anyway, any suggestions about what I should do about these bones?



 Posted: Wed Nov 1st, 2006 10:31 pm
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javal1
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Regina -

With all due respect, the bones should not have been touched, let alone removed. Call local authorities. You have no idea whether these are animal or human. They will. Even if they are human, that doesn't mean they're old. What if they're not? I hate to chastise a new member, but this was an iresponsible move if true. Call the police. If they're animal, you wasted a few minutes of their time. If they're human, you either disturbed a valuable archaelogical find or a crime scene. Not good.



 Posted: Thu Nov 2nd, 2006 02:26 pm
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David White
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Regina:

I echo Javal's sentiments but having been on the walking trails at Monacacy none of them are near where any hospitals were set up.  They all are actually on the ground where the fighting occurred, so I doubt what you have are amputated limbs, which would probably be found where the hospitals were located.  My guess is like the NP ranger that you have found some animal bones that just may be similar to human skelatal remains.  Which tour stop's trail were you on?



 Posted: Thu Nov 2nd, 2006 03:02 pm
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MNB
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Regina:

I would like to see what you've found. Please give me a call at the battlefield. Thanks

Todd Stanton, Chief Ranger

Monocacy National Battlefield

301-662-3515



 Posted: Thu Nov 2nd, 2006 07:06 pm
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ole
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Now the Chief Ranger's response is more in line with my reaction to Regina's post. Perhaps moving the bones was a no-no, but I stirred a bit when I read that a park ranger dismissed her discovery as animal bones without investigating. Her description and attempts to call attention to the discovery led her to investigate, and I'm willing to believe her conviction that her find was human remains.

Under the described circumstances, I might well have dragged one of the rangers to the site and rubbed his/her nose on it. So the find is ultimately determined to be a pig, or whatever; the point is that it must be investigated. I'll overlook Regina's "indiscretion" and applaud the Chief Ranger's interest.

Ole

Last edited on Thu Nov 2nd, 2006 07:08 pm by ole



 Posted: Thu Nov 2nd, 2006 08:01 pm
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Steven Cone
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I never come across anything such as this on my CW travels but .. But do believe there many  things out their  that remain  to be found.

Ole  good to see you on another site : )

Regards



 Posted: Thu Nov 2nd, 2006 08:07 pm
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ole
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Thank you, Steven.

Been lurking this site off and on for a long time. Finally got up the energy (don't say it!) to actually sign on.

Ole



 Posted: Thu Nov 2nd, 2006 11:01 pm
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Regina
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Wow !!  I guess I really wasn't thinking correctly, and I apologize for being irresponsible, or possibly, disrespecful by taking the bones.  At the time I kept telling myself that they must be animal bones, but I admit that the fact that I took them has been troubling me ever since that day (quite a bit).  Especially when they matched up with bones on the human skeleton.  A Monocacy Park Ranger has contacted me and I'm sure I will be bringing them back there as soon as possible.  Thanks to those of you who responded to my post.



 Posted: Thu Nov 2nd, 2006 11:13 pm
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Regina
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I found them on the trail at the Thomas Farm.



 Posted: Fri Nov 3rd, 2006 12:45 am
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ole
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Regina:

Thinking about what you should or should not have done gets you absolutely nowhere. It's done. Gone. The better generals in the WBTS would have said, "I could have handled that better. I'll do better the next time." The first time is the hard one. There is no precedent that I know of for your discovery. You couldn't consult your manual. Give yourself a break. Next time you'll have a precedent.

Ole



 Posted: Fri Nov 3rd, 2006 02:19 pm
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HankC
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Regina wrote: Wow !!  I guess I really wasn't thinking correctly, and I apologize for being irresponsible, or possibly, disrespecful by taking the bones.  At the time I kept telling myself that they must be animal bones, but I admit that the fact that I took them has been troubling me ever since that day (quite a bit).  Especially when they matched up with bones on the human skeleton.  A Monocacy Park Ranger has contacted me and I'm sure I will be bringing them back there as soon as possible.  Thanks to those of you who responded to my post.

Regina, you can rest easy. Your due diligence was just fine. You notified a ranger and they brushed you off.

150-year-old bones will not match a skeleton very well after lying in the elements all that time. They may indeed be more recent and bringing them to the attention of the local authorities was exactly correct

The ball is in their court (after their initial fumble).

It's not up to the folks in this forum to chastise or pass judgement after the NPS did...

 

HankC

Last edited on Fri Nov 3rd, 2006 02:20 pm by HankC



 Posted: Fri Nov 3rd, 2006 02:33 pm
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David White
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Regina:

Don't beat yourself up, you are doing the right thing now and all will  turn out fine.

Did you find the bones near the trail as it leaves the river?  That would be my guess because as I recall, the property to the NE had some cattle.

That is a terrific location BTW and I am glad the family has opened up the land for vistors but I was disturbed to see that visitors had gotten off the trail and trampled their corn the day I was there a couple of years ago, right after it opened up.


It would be hard for me to believe what you have are historical human bones as that field has been plowed so many times over the years, but you never know.

When it all gets resolved, please tell us the end of the story, curious minds want to know.

Last edited on Fri Nov 3rd, 2006 03:00 pm by David White



 Posted: Fri Nov 3rd, 2006 02:41 pm
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Steven Cone
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There is no precedent that I know of for your discovery

If I remember correct  

Several years (10-20) back they decovered bones at gettysburg..  

When they bult that new Library in Franklin.. The construction folks built a a big ol fence around the site  and then had a fence that you could see through  inside the other fence.   Not sure what all that was about but  heard stories that bones were  found there as well as other artifacts.  

True or false I dont know..  As I have never seen anything.

Last edited on Fri Nov 3rd, 2006 02:48 pm by Steven Cone



 Posted: Fri Nov 3rd, 2006 03:06 pm
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javal1
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Folks:

First of all - Regina, you made an error in judgement.  Then you fixed it. There's none of us who haven't made mistakes. You're doing the responsible thing now, and that's what counts. So I'll echo others in saying "relax", it's OK.

However as for Hank's comment that "It's not up to the folks in this forum to chastise or pass judgement after the NPS did", we'll have to agree to disagree. Some years ago, a soldier's bones were found potruding from the bank of the railroad cut in Gettysburg. If the visitor who made the discovery had approached a ranger who had dismissed them as "probably animal bones" would that have made it OK for the guy to take the bones home? Would all Civil War enthusiasts, and those interested in historical preservation, then be obligated not to tell the person it was a mistake because of perceived lack of diligence on one ranger's part? I don't think so, so I disagree with that statement.

But Regina - thanks for doing the right thing, and I hope you'll stick around for more pleasant conversations on the board.



 Posted: Fri Nov 3rd, 2006 10:53 pm
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Regina
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I appreciate the member comments I have received.  I first visited Monocacy Battlefield briefly last February when I went to Frederick to help my sister who was relocating there (we are from Connecticut).  In July, after spending July 1, 2 and 3 in Gettysburg, we went back to Monocacy on the anniversary of that battle.  We were quite impressed with the visitor center display there, the living history encampment that was held that weekend, and the beautifully preserved land--especially the walking trails.  We walked the Thomas Farm trail early one morning--the bones were quite visible along the trail--and not all together, just here and there along the way.  We tried to make sense of it and told ourselves that they must be farm animal bones.   I took four, there were more there that we left.  Since then, I've felt uneasy.  I kept seeing articles in various newspapers about remains being found or dug up accidentally.  (In my town I am part of a group trying to stop developers from digging where we believe the remains of Revolutionary War soldiers are buried in a mass grave because they had smallpox and were dumped onto our beach from a British prison ship but that's a whole other story).  I just want to know for sure what kind of bones I have, and if they are human, I want to be sure they are properly and respectfully taken care of.



 Posted: Fri Nov 10th, 2006 04:41 pm
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Art B.
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Wow, CSI-ACW!!! Please keep us all informed of developments in this case. Quite exciting any way it goes...well, unless it's somebody's fried chicken picnic remains. The Gettysburg case was ca.1998 in the railroad cut on the 1st day's portion of the field; the victim is buried in the national cemetery in that town.

Art B.



 Posted: Wed Nov 15th, 2006 03:21 pm
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burnsideshot
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Hmmm.  I would probably have kept the bones and imagined in my head for life that it was from a Civil War soldier engaged in battle who would forever be remembered now...at least by me.  Maybe this makes me a terrible person, but at least it makes me an honest one. :?



 Posted: Thu Nov 16th, 2006 09:10 pm
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Art B.
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Regina...Please keep us informed as to any developments. Thanks!

 

Art B. in Tampa, FL



 Posted: Tue Nov 28th, 2006 05:05 pm
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MNB
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Regina has returned the bones to Monocacy National Battlefield. The park's archeologist examined them and determined that they are deer bones, not human remains.  I'd like to take this opportunity to remind everyone that removing natural or cultural resources from a National Park is illegal and punishable by up to 2 years in jail and a $200,000 fine.  In this case Regina did the right thing by returning the items she found.  The best course of action would have been to leave them as found and contact the park or other law enforcement agency.

Todd Stanton, Chief Ranger, Monocacy National Battlefield

 

 



 Posted: Tue Nov 28th, 2006 05:47 pm
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David White
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Thanks for the update Todd, glad to hear it was not an historical artifact and better not a crime.

 

Kudos to Regina for doing the right thing.



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