Builder delays excavation, construction because of Indian remains

PORT CLINTON, Ohio (AP) - The builder of a housing development where American Indian remains have been found has halted amateur excavation so that professionals can take over.
In an agreement with Indian leaders, developer Greg Spatz hired a professional archaeological company to begin unearthing and cataloging the human bones, pottery shards and clay pipes as early as Monday.
Members of the Ohio Archaeological Society started exhuming the artifacts after a construction worker found human bones while digging at the development on a Lake Erie peninsula 40 miles east of Toledo.
But Spatz, owner of United States Construction Co., said he agreed to hire professionals to oversee the project at the request of Arthur Medicine Eagle, director of the Five States Alliance of First Americans.
"We're in agreement that a professional company is supposed to be coming in," Medicine Eagle said. "Whatever remains are extracted, we'll deal with them at the time to make sure that they are respected."
Spatz said he decided Wednesday to halt the archaeological work on the property, called The Cove on the Bay, because of concerns raised by Medicine Eagle and historic preservation groups. Spatz said his company has hired Columbus-based Ohio Valley Archaeological Consultants.
Archaeologists studying the site have said the earliest find so far has been pottery from around 600 B.C. The estimated age was based on findings in nearby areas.
Spatz said he believes the archaeological work will delay construction by about a month.
(Copyright 2003 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)