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'Archeological dig' at high school uncovers remains of 26

Original post made on Aug 5, 2009

The site of the new gymnasium at San Ramon Valley High School has become more of an archaeological dig than a construction site as technicians undergo the laborious process of uncovering and disinterring the 26 human remains found so far.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Tuesday, August 4, 2009, 6:06 PM

Comments (16)

Posted by Jon
a resident of Danville
on Aug 5, 2009 at 7:32 pm

I continue to fail to understand why Galvan and the whole excavation crew can be so flippant about removing the bones of 20+ dead people from what was meant to be their eternal resting place. We should be treating this place with respect as though it were our own ancestors buried there, not as though it were some item of archeological curiosity. Let the Miwoks lie!

Posted by Rick Pshaw
a resident of Danville
on Aug 5, 2009 at 10:41 pm

I agree. This travesty will result in a curse being placed on the land and buildings. You think not? Go check around...

Posted by Liz
a resident of San Ramon
on Aug 6, 2009 at 10:26 am

I agree. This isn't just a random collection of people, this was intended as a resting ground. It sounds like they're going to find more than 50 people.

Rather than remove the people, we should respect them. We should leave the bones and have a memorial to these early settlers near the high school to give kids some perspective on history and the local area.

Posted by Alamo Resident
a resident of Alamo
on Aug 6, 2009 at 3:15 pm

Bad JuJu coming. Remember what happened to Greg on the Brady Bunch.

Posted by Duffy
a resident of Danville
on Aug 7, 2009 at 8:37 am

Liz is right! They will find the bones of 53 Miwok Indians and 12 dogs!

The gym should be redesigned to resemble a Miwok Kaawul Kotcha and the school should be renamed Miwok High School.

This is an opportunity that should not be ignored.

Posted by Karrie Camezon
a resident of San Ramon
on Aug 9, 2009 at 12:14 pm

While I understand the historical significance of this amazing find, I too am saddended by the removal of these remains. As a long time Danville resident and a former student of SRVHS I spent many years on and around those resting grounds - and the others that likely exist on the school grounds. We found many arrowheads on our property on Love Lane and I'm sure the whole valley is full of evidence of past civilizations just a few feet below our streets and homes.

The talk of curses and bad "ju ju" diminishes these lives and their contributions to our rich history. As a person with Cherokee ancestors on both sides, it's insulting.

It would be such a beautiful lesson to our children to honor these early residents of our beautiful valley if there would be a monument of some kind and a blessing of the grounds by an appropriate individual as part of the dedication of the new building.

Posted by Sharon
a resident of Danville
on Aug 13, 2009 at 4:45 pm

Karrie, very well put! I do believe that as the ground needs to be "packed" down to a certain level when construction is being completed above, that to a certain depth the remains are harvested to avoid crushing them. At some point they can stop digging and leave the rest where they are as they are below the area that will be packed down.

Posted by Larry
a resident of Danville
on Aug 14, 2009 at 1:08 pm

I wonder if they have done a drag of the area with a sonic finding device to determine if there are more remains? They can find bones/bodies under concrete by doing this, can't imagine why they couldn't find them in the earthen areas they're excavating. There are liable to be additional remains on the fringes of the actual construction that could be unearthed and allow them to remain with their family members/loved ones in a common plot when re-interred.

I thought it was rather heartless how the District pointed out the cost implications of the effort and the possible cost increases due to delays of construction and the completion of the project as major factors in this event.

It's hard to believe that earlier construction hadn't had similar results that may have gone unmentioned in the past. The "small gym" (which was built as part of the WPA Projects) that was previously on the site presently being excavated MUST HAVE yielded similar finds, it's just that we weren't as aware of the sanctity of such things until the more recent past.

I'm also curious about the assertion that the remains were "somewhere between 250 and 2,000 years old". Aren't they going to perform some carbon dating tests on these remains to determine exactly how old they are, and wouldn't that indicate whether or not there may be other remains at lower levels? If the remains were from that wide a time span, I believe 2,000 years would pre-date Miwok tribes in this area, and if so, the find may be even more significant than initially thought.

And to a degree, I question the comment that they could determine sex by the brow ridge... I don't think this is a proven fact- maybe in conjunction with the sciatic notch data, but not in and of itself.

Has anyone involved in this thought about contacting anyone in the Biological Community at LLNL to see if they could lend a hand with aging the remains? After all, the Lab does a lot of work with Science in Schools, and this is DEFINITELY Science IN SCHOOL!

Posted by sharon
a resident of Danville
on Aug 14, 2009 at 2:27 pm

Larry - that's a great idea! An opportunity to both ackowledge the sacred nature of this find as well as giving students the opportunity to learn carbon dating, etc. would be some posittives to help offset the negatives of disturbing this resting place.

Posted by Geoff Gillette
Danville Weekly reporter
on Aug 14, 2009 at 7:39 pm

Geoff Gillette is a registered user.

Thanks for the comments. I believe they will be carbon dating the remains before reinterring them.

Also, to be fair, I asked the school district how the dig would affect their timeline and what if any additional cost there would be. It was not something they were complaining about.

Robbie Lyng was very respectful of the situation.

Posted by drew
a resident of Alamo
on Aug 19, 2009 at 11:00 pm

I believe that the Bodies found should remain there and have the building on top of it. Obviously not hurting the bodies at all but just leaving them alone. The new gym will be a youthful growing place and I'm pretty sure the Indian's wouldn't mind the youth center being there where children will dwell and grow. The Indian's were all about close family and supporting one another.

Go Wolves!

Posted by Thomas Cochran
a resident of Danville
on Sep 1, 2009 at 10:29 am

I think we should leave the remains alone. We should stop any further excavating of the bodies found on SRVHS site. It is disrespectful to move bones to the cemetary in another place where they should not be. If someone put them here, they should remain here in their final resting place. We should cover up what has been uncovered and leave it in peace.
I agree with Larry that they should use a sonic finding device to see how many bodies are there so we have more information on how to move forward in honoring these people.

Posted by Raven
a resident of Del Amigo Continuation High School
on Sep 1, 2009 at 11:15 am

In my oppinion they should leave the bodies where they are. Its disrespectful to the bodies and their families. They were buried so that they can rest in peace. So leave them be!!!! And build the gym somewhere else.

Posted by Sergio Fernandez
a resident of Del Amigo Continuation High School
on Sep 1, 2009 at 11:17 am

I believe that the archeologists shouldleave the remains in the ground. rebury what they have already found. The school should build the gym elsewhere or on top of the small gym. Relocating the bones is not right. The indians had rituals and practiceswe have no idea about. Remember, curiousty killed the cat

Posted by YVETTEski
a resident of Del Amigo Continuation High School
on Sep 1, 2009 at 11:25 am

I believe that the resting ground should be left alone. They should have left it alone the second they found human remains. I feel that it's disturbing their rest to remove their bones. Its overly disrespectful to build things on someone's resting place. If construction continues, paranormal activity will start to occur. I am of Mexican and Samoan descent and it is common knowledge that negative consequences come to those who disturb the remains of those who deserve to rest in peace.

Posted by Samantha Smith
a resident of another community
on May 1, 2011 at 12:58 am

I'm not sure if Andrew Galvan reads these comments. If so, my daughter is a Galvan. She and I are having difficulties obtaining information regarding her Native American heritage. We would really appreciate any information or resources you would be willing to share. Samantha Smith. [email protected]

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