Construction workers were alarmed this afternoon after discovering skeletal remains while they were digging holes on a property located on Ambergris Street on October 14, 2011. Shortly after 1:00 p.m. San Pedro Police received a call from the workers to further investigate the matter.
Police called Dr. Javier Zuniga to the site and he confirmed that the skeletal remains were that of a human being. According to San Pedro Police the remains will be sent out to the Institute of Archaeology for Dr. Jaime Awe to conduct further investigations on the remains.
But this is not the first time that skeletal remains have been found at constructions sites in down town San Pedro. There have been quite a few instances when construction workers have discovered skeletal remains just like these. This has occurred during the construction of the Alijua Building and the one just behind it where Casa Pan Dulce and Lighthouse Christian Radio are located, including Sands Hotel and Martha’s Hotel.
History tells us that the area of town core became a giant burial ground in 1918 due to an epidemic. It was part of a worldwide epidemic known as the Spanish Influenza that started right after World War I in the trenches of France. In a short time it reached the colony of British Honduras (Belize).
Danny Vasquez, a Sanpedrano, wrote his memoirs telling us that when the flu arrived in San Pedro the men squeezed the lime juice and mixed it with rum and took that as medicine. Danny recalled that at first there was one death a day but then there were two and then three deaths per day. The policeman ordered that the church bell not be rung as was customary so that the villagers would not be alarmed.
At first the villagers bought some pine lumber from Alamilla’s Store but soon they ran out of lumber. Then they wrapped the dead on a piece of cloth and gave them a decent burial. Danny recalls that towards the end there were ten people dying each day and they buried their loved ones at night so as not to continue to scare the villagers. By the end of the epidemic which disappeared like a mystery about half of the population of San Pedro had died.
Other folks tell us by word of mouth that since so many people died and there being no coffins, a lot of people were buried in their own yards all over the village. That is why if you dig anywhere around the village you are almost sure to find some skeletons. This is probably the result of the Spanish Influenza epidemic that occurred more than twenty five years ago in the year 1918.