Nicole Sauve and Ken Campbell of Sarnia, Ontario, found the 400-year-old bones of a First Nations woman when they started digging to build a fence, and contacted the Ontario Provincial Police, who taped off their back yard and called in an anthropological expert, the Toronto Star reported Saturday.
Forensic anthropologist Michael Spence said the aboriginal woman was about 24 years old when she died and was part of a hunting, gathering and fishing and merchant society.
Property owners must pay for the costs of archaeological assessment for human remains found on their property, the Star reported.
Sauve, who appealed to Sarnia's mayor to pay the archaeologist, said, "I did the right thing by her and this is what's happening," she said.
Provincial Parliament Member Bob Bailey said Sauve can ask the Registrar of Cemeteries to determine whether paying for the excavation could be considered an "undue financial burden," and if so, would either pay the bill or reimburse her.
Sauve said others have told her that her story means if they have a similar situation, they won't tell authorities and risk having such an expense.
"God forbid you have a murder victim, and you cover them up. Never will that person be brought home; never will their family have closure," she said.