Archaeological Discovery Made Under Frio County Bridge Could Alter History

Under highway bridges, the ground is normally covered in trash, but in Frio County southwest of San Antonio, crews with the Texas Department of Transportation have discovered skeletal remains that they believe date back one-thousand years, Newsradio 1200 WOAI reports.

"When we were doing regular bridge inspection, a bridge inspector found what looked to be human remains," spokesman Hernan Rosenberg says.

Those bones were originally thought to be linked to a cold case, and were turned over to county sheriffs. 

 But an amazing discovery flipped the case on its head.  TxDot Archeologist Scott Pletka says an arrowhead was found.

"An Arrow point dating to about 1,000 years ago, nestled in the pelvic area of the remains."

Immediately, the scene was transformed from a crime scene to an archaeological dig.  

Pletka says as they dig into the soil under the highway bridge, they started to find clay and branches that shows the skeleton belonged to a person who lived along the river.  At some point, the person was shot by an arrow and the home was set on fire.

"That structure burned, preserving it for us to find hundreds of years later."

He says it's pure luck that everything worked just right to preserve the body, which seems to have been uncovered by erosion.

TxDot is now working with ten Native American tribes.  When the remains are uncovered, they'll be turned over to them.  As for future digs in the area, he says it's unlikely.  There are concerns that it could damage the bridge’s support structure.

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