Ancient remains causing problems in Brentwood (CA)

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The unheralded removal of hundreds of ancient bodies at a Brentwood construction site this year illustrated how secretive — and political — American Indian excavations can be.

When Shea Homes dug up about 500 bodies to make way for a road through its new Trilogy subdivision, the developer set in motion a governmental process steeped in confidentiality.
State policymakers have spent years fine-tuning what must be done after such discoveries, but many tiptoe around volatile questions.

"The politics are interesting and are such that it behooves me not to say too much," said Adrian Praetzellis, a Sonoma State anthropologist who studies American Indian remains.
State laws require landowners to contact California's Native American Heritage Commission when native remains are found. The commission then assigns a person known as the "most-likely descendant" to consult with the landowner.

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