Discovery of Native American burial site pauses renovation on section of 405 Freeway

Centuries before the advent of housing tracts and highways, Native Americans were making Orange County their home.

On occasion, a reminder of their early ancestors’ presence taps modern civilization on the shoulder, as it did Sept. 25 when a construction crew unearthed bones next to the 405 Freeway.

The find brought excavation to a screeching halt alongside the overpass – one of 18 slated for widening in the $1.9 billion improvement project.

“Work remains stopped in the area while all established procedures are followed,” Orange County Transportation Authority spokesman Eric Carpenter said.

The Orange County coroner’s office established that the bones are human, said Artin Baron, supervising deputy coroner. “An archaeologist determined that artifacts around the bones signify Native American remains.”

Baron said he does not have information about the artifacts or the age of the bones. “It was not a coroner’s case, so we immediately turned it over to the California Native American Heritage Commission,” he said.

Discovery of Native American remains in Orange County is not unusual, Baron said, occurring at least a couple of times a year.

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