The workers were digging a 3-foot deep trench to install a National Grid gas line in front of a house on 108th Street, near Jamaica Ave., across the street from P.S. 90, when they noticed five bone fragments, which were about 6 to 8 inches long, police said.
The remains are currently being investigated by the Medical Examiner.
“We are working on the idea that they are decades to centuries old,” said medical examiner spokeswoman Julie Bolcer. “Until we run further analysis we can’t say specifically how old the bones are.”
It was unclear why the bones had been buried there and why the grave was so shallow — which, according to Richard Hourahan, collections manager at the Queens Historical Society, is very uncommon.
Hourahan said in the late 19th century the property where the bones were found belonged to H.P. Gasson. Hourahan could not provide additional information about the owner.
Gasson's property was near the farm, which was owned by the prominent Napier family, Hourahan said, who had their family cemetery in the area. But that cemetery was in what today is Woodhaven, at least several blocks away, he said.
The current owner of the house told investigators that he had lived there for about two decades and knew nothing about the bones. No criminality is suspected, police said.