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Southampton Town will buy, secure ancient burial site

A skull, bone and a glass flask were unearthed Aug. 13 during construction on the Hawthorne Road property. 

The building site on Hawthorne Road in Southampton,

The building site on Hawthorne Road in Southampton, seen on Aug. 14, where human remains were discovered the previous day.  Photo Credit: Gordon M. Grant

Southampton Town officials have reached an agreement to purchase and preserve a Shinnecock Hills property where human skeletal remains thought to be of American Indian descent were discovered last month.

A skull, bone and a glass flask were unearthed Aug. 13 during construction on the Hawthorne Road property. The builder immediately stopped work and notified members of the Shinnecock Indian Nation, who say the remains are that of an ancestor. The remains and the flask were taken to the Suffolk County Medical Examiner’s office, where an anthropologist determined them to be more than 50 years old. An archaeologist with the state Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation said the remains were “likely” of American Indian origin.

The town plans to use $450,000 from the Community Preservation Fund — which is financed through a 2 percent tax on real estate transfers — to buy and preserve the 0.34-acre lot, whose owner is listed as KB Southampton LLC.

Tribal members are raising money through a GoFundMe page at gofundme.com/ytver to contribute an additional $50,000 to help cover the property owner’s cost of regrading the site.

“This is a very important acquisition to the Shinnecock Nation, and I want to thank them for their advocacy,” Southampton Town Supervisor Jay Schneiderman said during a town board meeting Tuesday. “I want to thank the property owner for his willingness to work with the town toward preserving this.”

The town board will host a public hearing on the matter on Oct. 9 at 1 p.m. at Southampton Town Hall.

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