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Indian Village Paved Over During $55 Million Marin Housing Development

LARKSPUR (KCBS) – A major development project, currently under construction in Larkspur, paved over hundreds of Indian artifacts from the Coast Miwok, which dated back thousands of years.

According to the San Francisco Chronicle, construction on the $55 million Rose Lane development started this month. Before construction began, the American Indian burial ground and village site was closely examined, before all the artifacts were removed from the site, reburied in an undisclosed location, and apparently graded over. No artifacts were saved in the process.

Archaeologists said that completely destroys the geological record and ends any thoughts of future studies.

The artifacts date back 4,500 years, and included human burials, tools, music instruments and weapons.  The bones of grizzly and black bears were also found.

When the development was approved by the city in 2010, the developer, Larkspur Land 8 Owner LLC, was required to bring in archaeologists to study the shell mound. The developers hired San Francisco's Holman & Associates Archaeological Consultants for the excavation, working with numerous archaeologists and specialists to study the site, while being monitored by the Federal Indians of Graton Rancheria.

Leaders of that group eventually decided the best course of action would be to remove and rebury the human remains and burial artifacts. The tribe has since staunchly defended the decision, saying they are more worried about "protecting our cultural resources and to leave them as is."

Archaeologists at a recent Society for California Archaeology symposium in Visalia said they were stunned to learn they had lost the chance to study the artifacts. Although they argued more could have been done to protect the site, the work was done under a confidentiality agreement, a relatively common process when dealing with Indian burials.

The 22-acre site, located in central Larkspur, will include senior units, affordable housing, and single-family homes. They are expected to go on the market in the fall.

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