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California

O.C. freeway work halted after discovery of bones believed to be those of a Native American

The San Diego Freeway widening project has hit a snag after human remains believed to be of Native American descent were found during excavations, a spokesman for the Orange County Transportation Authority said Wednesday.

Construction workers found the bones on Sept. 25, said Eric Carpenter of the OCTA. Agency officials are prohibited by law from providing a location or description of a grave or sacred places, Carpenter said.

Construction was halted immediately after the bones were found, and officials consulted with an archaeologist and the county coroner, Carpenter said. He added that officials suspect the bones are human and of Native American descent.

OCTA is consulting with the California Native American Heritage Commission on how to proceed, Carpenter said.

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“The commission determines a most likely descendant from a local Native American tribe,” he said. ”OCTA and its partners recognize the cultural sensitivity of the issue and will work with all the parties involved to ensure appropriate and respectful procedures are followed.”

It is not clear whether the discovery will affect when construction is completed.


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