Washington, June 1 (ANI): Construction workers have unearthed by accident, a skeleton of a woman thousands of years old, under the parking lot near Cannery Row in Monterey, California.
According to a report in the Monterey County Herald, the human remains were found as a ditch was being dug behind the ‘Sardine Factory’, a restaurant. A skull and about half a skeleton came up in the backhoe scoop.
“We immediately stopped the job,” said Frank Donangelo, vice president of planning and development for the Cannery Row Company, which owns the property.
After the police department received word of the bones, officers secured the scene and a coroner and pathologist arrived to assess whether a crime was committed.
Once the bones were determined ancient and not to be investigated as the remains of a crime, a call was made to representatives of the Esselen Nation, which has local ancestral roots.
Louise Miranda Ramirez, who chairs the Ohlone Costanoan Esselen Nation, has been on-site overseeing the excavation.
The Esselen people prefer to leave remains where they are found, but if that is not an option, the remains are removed and buried elsewhere, Ramirez said.
“That is the plan with the skeleton found Wednesday. When and where that will be has not been determined,” she said.
“We want them to be reburied with a ceremony and make sure they don’t show up on a shelf somewhere in a museum,” said Ramirez, a former Peninsula resident who lives in San Jose.
Ramirez named the Esselen ancestor “Ichi Kolo,” which means “Sister Love” in the Esselen language.
According to archeologist Susan Morley, who lectures at CSU (California State University) Monterey Bay, is leading the excavation, “Archaeology is about trying to learn about human behavior.”
“We are trying to carefully document this individual to find out anything about when she was buried,” she said.
Morley said that she could not estimate how old the remains are, but Indian remains found on the site in the past have been dated from 2,000- to 6,000-years-old.
“The skeleton found was about four feet deep, which is a clue to the age of the bones,” Morley said.
“Sea shells found during the dig a layer above the skeleton are probably 500 to 1,300 years old,” she added.
Besides the bones dug up by the back hoe, no more have been removed and very little has been uncovered.
Morley said the land under the parking lot, which is between Foam Street and Wave Avenue, was excavated in 1980 and found to be the site of a “major village” from pre-colonial times. (ANI)