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Excavation for LA Plaza de Cultura y Artes Halted

By Lauren Mattia
Published: Friday, January 14, 2011, at 04:01PM
El Pueblo Campo Santo Excavation Robert Garcia / The City Project [Flickr]

When controversy first broke two weeks ago over the handling of human remains found during excavation of a garden for LA Plaza, museum officials were insistent that the digging would continue. Now however, their stance has changed.

Due to the unforseen quantity of human remains dating back to the 19th century, LA Plaza's CEO Miguel Angel Corzo has announced an indefinite hold on excavation for the camposanto area of the campus.

"We have conducted the necessary archaeological excavation in strict accordance with the law," Corzo said in a press release issued this afternoon. "However, we believe it is in the best interest of both LA Plaza and the larger community to put this section of our project on hold."

Excavation for LA Plaza's garden began in October 2010, and shortly after breaking ground, archaeologists from The Sanberg Group discovered remains from the original cemetery of the neighboring La Placita Church dating from the first half of the 19th century. Records show that the cemetery and the remains within were relocated after its closure in 1844.

After the activists and the Native American Heritage Commission discovered that the remains were discovered to be "Native American associated grave goods," they requested that the project be halted until further investigation could be completed on the remains.

So where does the future lie for LA Plaza? "Moving forward, we will continue to work with all interested parties and proceed with the rest of our construction as planned." Corzo said. "We believe this discovery and the resulting conversations will engender further education about the rich and complex history of Los Angeles, a history we are committed to exploring here at LA Plaza.”

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