CEG Industry Blog

Unusual Site Discoveries: What Should Your Team Do?

Over the years, construction managers have reported finding treasure troves, bones, relics, fossils, narcotics and explosives as they’ve tried to go about their work.

📅   Thu November 09, 2017 - Edition
Megan Wild


As a construction manager, you will come across some weird and wonderful discoveries on-site.
As a construction manager, you will come across some weird and wonderful discoveries on-site.
As a construction manager, you will come across some weird and wonderful discoveries on-site. . If you suspect it's a fossil given any patterns or noticeable imprints in rock, you will need to report your fossil find.

You know construction work can sometimes be messy and unpredictable, but you do it anyway and you enjoy it. During your time on-site, you and your team will have most likely seen some things very few people are otherwise exposed to. What would you do if you found something entirely unexpected — something illegal, dangerous, extremely old or extremely valuable? More to the point, what should you do?

Over the years, construction managers have reported finding treasure troves, bones, relics, fossils, narcotics and explosives as they've tried to go about their work. Backyards, open land and under houses seem to be the spots to unearth the most peculiar things. We're taking a look at what you could expect to find and what to do about your discovery.

Approach With Caution

When you find something underground, or unearth a foreign object you haven't expected, approach with caution. More often than not, what you find underground has likely either been concealed for a reason, has been undisturbed for a long time or others have come across it and thought twice about uprooting it.

Stop all activity in the surrounding area and alert people in proximity to the object or objects. If it is an organic material and not manmade, there seems little harm in investigating with discretion further. However, if the object is made of metal or another unidentifiable manmade material, it's better to call the professionals.

Identify as Best as Possible

No, you're not expected to be able to identify a mystery object correctly. However, once you've determined whether or not the object is immediately dangerous, intelligence-gathering to notify the right people is next on the agenda.

If the object is organic and you have unobtrusive tools, delicately remove debris preventing further visibility to ascertain what type of discovery you are dealing with. If you suspect it's a fossil given any patterns or noticeable imprints in rock, you will need to report your fossil find.

If the object is metal, look for any markings on the material that you can note. This includes serial numbers, signs, flags, even colors. What would be even more helpful is if you can gauge the shape of the mystery find — for example, a torpedo-like figure.

Notify the Right People

Once you have a better idea of what it is you're dealing with, make a call. If you have found bones in any form, make sure you contact the police right away. While they could be animal bones, it is imperative that these discoveries are passed on to the authorities.

The police will also be interested in knowing about any potential war relics, large amounts of money, weaponry of any sort and, of course, narcotics. They should be best connected to redirect your findings to the proper government agency, private institution or individual.

If you believe you have found a fossil, you will need to report it ASAP to the appropriate government agency. Depending on your state, you could be liable to criminal charges if you fail to report a fossil find. The owner of the land on which you are working should be notified, too.

As a construction manager, you will come across some weird and wonderful discoveries on-site. If you unearth things like relics, dinosaur bones or WWII weapons, be careful. Try to learn as much as possible about your object from a safe distance, take note of any distinguishing characteristics, markings, colors or patterns, and make an educated decision on who to contact.

Megan is a freelance writer who specializes in construction. You can find some of her work on sites like Engineering.com, Procore, Construction Equipment Guide, and more. Follow her on Twitter @Megan_Wild.