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VENTURA COUNTY NEWS

Bones Believed Those of Native American

May 05, 2000|GREG RISLING | SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

Construction workers unearthed skeletal remains in a vacant lot near Calabasas Tuesday morning that authorities believe may be the bones of a Native American.

The remains were discovered shortly after 11:15 a.m. on the 23000 block of Bluebird Drive as a construction crew laid the foundation for a new home, authorities said. The workers, who were digging in a 3-foot-deep ditch, stopped once they found the bones and contacted authorities.

"We have confirmed these are human bones and may be very old," said Lt. Daniel Rosenberg of the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department. "Right now it's too early to tell what the remains are, but they may be Native American."

Investigators from the Los Angeles coroner's office collected the dried-out fragments that consisted of a skull, rib and jawbone that still had a tooth intact. A team of forensic archeologists will continue digging at the site today searching for more remains.

If the bones are determined to be those of an American Indian, the Native American Heritage Commission in Sacramento would be contacted for identification purposes, Rosenberg said. The area was once heavily populated by the Chumash tribe.

Property owner Jon Goldstein of Woodland Hills said the 11,000-foot corner lot has never been developed. Surrounded by mammoth oak trees, the lot sits in the middle of a tony, well-maintained neighborhood. Goldstein planned to build a four-bedroom, four-bathroom house but now his schedule may be thrown off course.

"We were told to stop the job and that's what we are going to do, unfortunately," said Goldstein, who had originally estimated the work would be completed in five months. "The workers were obviously shocked to find human bones. I think anybody would be."

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