Wisconsin Historical Society

Are There Human Remains on Your Property? How to Find Out

Are There Human Remains on Your Property? | Wisconsin Historical Society

The Wisconsin Historical Society maintains a database of known human burial sites in Wisconsin. 

Contact the Wisconsin Historical Society

Private landowners, realtors, or potential property buyers can request information about archaeological sites and burial sites present on a parcel. To obtain this confidential information, please complete this form and submit it to Amy Rosebrough via the email, fax, or mailing address listed below.

If there are known human remains on your property, the Society staff will send you copies of our records when the completed form is received.

Please keep in mind that the locations of many burial sites are not known, or have become lost over time. It is possible that a burial site may be present on your property, even if the Society does not have a record for that site.

Amy L. Rosebrough
Wisconsin Historical Society
816 State Street 
Madison WI 53706-1482

Fax: 608-264-6504
Email: amy.rosebrough@wisconsinhistory.org

The Society will mail you copies of your records. If the Society doesn't have a record of the site, we may ask you to fill out a site report form. We might also ask permission for our staff to visit your property to document the site.

Have You Discovered Human Remains?

By state law, all discoveries of suspected human bone must be reported immediately, even if you have already been authorized to work within the boundaries of a human burial site.

If You Believe You Have Found Human Bone:

  1. Contact your local police or sheriff's department immediately.
  2. Do not move or handle the remains.
  3. Stop all construction or other ground disturbance immediately.
  4. Contact the Wisconsin Historical Society at 800-342-7834 or 608-264-6507 as soon as possible.

Failure to report the discovery of human remains to the Wisconsin Historical Society may result in substantial fines or criminal charges.

Stop Construction or Other Ground Disturbing Activities

Construction or other ground disturbing activitiesmay not proceed until the bones are determined to be unrelated to a criminal or missing persons case and the director of the Wisconsin Historical Society has granted a request to disturb the burial site.

If the bones are determined to be unrelated to a criminal or missing persons case, Wisconsin's burial sites laws apply.

Learn More

See more articles about Human Burials, Mounds and Cemeteries

Have Questions?

Contact our burial sites preservation office staff by email below: