Grand Parkway construction uncovers prehistoric burial sites

Image of excavation at Grand Parkway construction site
September 12, 2012 1:02:18 PM PDT
There are new developments about a prehistoric discovery that's holding up construction of a section of the Grand Parkway. Experts say they could be on top of a priceless archaeological find, but they may be running out of time to find out.

As you can imagine, with a major road construction project stopped in its tracks, there is a lot of money on the line. The county historical commission and Texas Department of Transportation are in court over how to proceed with Section E of the Grand Parkway between I-10 and Highway 290.

The first discovery was made 11 months ago, revealed this summer when the state asked a court to approve the removal of some ancient human remains in the path of the Grand Parkway construction near Cypress Creek. Construction stopped and more investigation followed.

Here's what's now been uncovered so far: More bones, about 15 feet from the original site, located in what's believed to have been a burial shaft; stone tools; and darts from hunting spears.

But the big find is teeth from prehistoric bison, which could place date of the find from 9,000 to 20,000 years old.

At the oldest range, it could mean an archaeological breakthrough.

"This may, depending upon what the results show, could be the earliest instance of humans being in North America," said Harris County Attorney Vince Ryan.

The county attorney is representing the county's historical commission which is asking the court for more time to study the site.

It is not a request to halt Grand Parkway construction, just work around it for a while longer.

"It's not like this is one little piece. This is a much larger project, so they will be working in other areas," said Harris Co. Judge Ed Emmett.

And that work in other areas continues to move forward.

The county attorney is asking for a two-month extension of the archaeological digs. A judge will rule on that request later this week.


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