Bones found at gym dig site | July 17, 2009 | Danville Express | |

Danville Express

Newsfront - July 17, 2009

Bones found at gym dig site

Work at SRVHS uncovers native american remains

by Geoff Gillette

Workers excavating earth as part of the construction of the new gym facility at San Ramon Valley High School last Wednesday uncovered human remains believed to be Native American.

Senior Project Manager Robbie Lyng said around 10:30 a.m. Wednesday crews were digging a trench to run a fire line when the remains were found.

"They were about seven feet down. It was a skull attached to a skeleton," Lyng said.

Work was stopped while Lyng called police to investigate the find. Officers at the scene cordoned off the area, then called in the Contra Costa County Coroner's Office.

An anthropologist brought to the site determined that the remains were Native American, very likely a member of the Bay Miwok tribe.

Lyng said the bones that were visible from the surface were removed yesterday by officials from the Native American Heritage Commission. He said now they will follow state protocols.

"They'll bring an archaeologist on site. What they'll try to do is find out whether there are any more remains," Lyng explained.

He said they will then examine the remainder of the dig area to determine if there are any other gravesites.

As part of the procedure established, the remains will be remanded to the custody of their "most likely descendant." In this case that would be Andrew Galvan, a Native American Indian consultant from Fremont who traces his heritage to local Native Americans.

"The commission looks for the person whose ancestry is linked to the remains. Since I can trace my ancestry to before the European invasion I am the most likely descendant," he said.

Galvan said he was contacted yesterday about the discovery and is in the process of writing up his recommendations regarding the disposition of the remains.

These are not the first remains found in the area during a building project. In the 1960s, Galvan said that remains were found during the construction of the I-680 corridor. Another incident occurred during the construction of Mountain Mike's restaurant on Hartz Avenue in 2005.

Work on the gym was temporarily halted after the discovery, but Lyng said crews were back on site Monday. He said they are working in an area away from the remains, and an archaeologist is on site to supervise any further excavation.

While Lyng said he also did not think the few days lost will have a cost impact on the school district, the district will have to shoulder the cost of the archeological investigation to make sure there are no other remains at the site.


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