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Highway 12 Construction Uncovers Ancient Bump In The Road: Construction Uncovers Native American Village, Burial Ground
August 20, 2002; 18:03 CDT

MADISON, Wis. -- "After the discovery of a village believed to be between 800 to 1,500 years old, Native Americans are working with state transportation officials to make sure the Highway 12 construction project moves forward, while protecting the area's rich heritage.

Before the expansion project took place, officials knew there was a chance it would uncover bits of the past.

"Well, there was a number of archaeological interests that we discovered, but there was an inadvertent discovery of some human remains that we believe are Native American remains, and at that point, when we discovered the remains we stopped all work (and) protected the site," said Patrick Fernan, District Deputy Director of the Department of Transportation.

So far, the expansion has discovered a 50-acre ancient village. Now, the DOT and Native Americans are discussing how best to preserve and respect the site.

"I think the DOT is handling things to the best of their knowledge, working with the tribes and the Native American groups that are at hand," said Art Shegonee, from the Menomonee Tribe. "It's showing people we can work together hand-in-hand."

One option discussed by both parties involves building a bridge around the site. Whatever they choose in the end, transportation officials are learning now the importance of working with a community when building a road.

"We're learning as a department that we have to do a better job of involving the community," said Susan Fox, Environmental Analyst for WisDOT. "And that means all different groups."

Copyright 2002 by Channel 3000.

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