The report represents the culmination of research completed through a grant from the Center for Rural Pennsylvania.

The discovery of unanticipated historic and archaeological human remains often disrupt plans for renovations and construction in both urban and rural areas. However, in Pennsylvania, clear procedures do not exist for dealing with these types of situations. Legislation outlines procedures for human remains in established cemeteries and for Native American remains on federal land or federally funded projects. However, for remains on private property or for remains that do not meet these criteria, there is no standard point of contact or mitigation procedures.

These issues have come to light in recent nationally recognized cases, such as the First Baptist Church in Philadelphia. Andrea Palmiotto and graduate student Jamie Kouba researched the First Baptist Church and other similar cases across Pennsylvania to document what happens to inadvertently discovered human remains. They talked to the Pennsylvania Historical and Museums Commission, other state agencies, local cultural resource management companies, and universities to understand the roles and procedures enacted. They compared these proceedings with relevant legislation established in other states to provide recommendations for Pennsylvania legislation. The report of these investigations is now available from the Center for Rural Pennsylvania.

Department of Anthropology