Human arm bone discovered under Japanese garden in Denver

bontanic gardens arm
Image: Denver Botanic Gardens
  • Crew workers on an excavation project found a human arm bone under a Japanese garden at the Denver Botanic Gardens.
  • The crew was replacing stream and pond linings at the time to prevent further water loss caused by cracks and damaged linings.
  • The gardens sit on an area that was once the city’s oldest and largest cemetery.
  • This is not the first occurrence, as human remains were previously discovered in the same area in 2008.

An excavation crew discovered a human bone while working on an excavation project at the Japanese Garden of the Denver Botanic Gardens.

The project was initiated to replace damaged and cracked linings in the streams, where the bone was found, and ponds in an effort to prevent further water loss, according to Associate Director of Communications Erin Bird.

Bird also told CBS4 that the garden sits atop an 1800s cemetery formerly considered the city’s largest and oldest cemetery. Although most of its buried human remains were removed at the time the Denver Botanic Gardens was built in the 1950s, some were left behind. 

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A similar discovery was made in 2008 when crew workers were excavating the garden’s parking structure and encountered bone fragments and items from caskets.

“It’s unfortunately just the nature of the location,” Bird explained. “We contact the coroner’s office, and they collect the remains, and then they take over from there and see about identifying or proper burials. They come move them to their site for the next steps.” 

The coroner’s office is currently trying to identify the bone.

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