Joe Sargent

Cal Poly students have found artifacts from thousands of years ago while doing archeological research for the Los Osos sewer project.

The students excavated around Los Osos to find if the project would disrupt any historical sites. The research was extensive because of the scope of the sewer project, according to Brian Codding, a social science senior, who was on the dig.

“We were basically trying to find out where all the archeological sites were in Los Osos and find out which would be effected by sewer lines,” Codding said.

Ten social science students, working in conjunction with two private firms, excavated sites in Los Osos which is known by most archeologists to be rich with archeological sites, according to Terry Jones, an anthropology teacher at Cal Poly and a principal investigator on the project.

“We know for a fact that the oldest occupation is 7,000 to 8,000 years old,” Jones said.

While digging, the team found two buried bodies dating back thousands of years. The bodies were researched while still in the ground and then left there, so as not to disturb them, Jones said. The plans for the sewer were actually changed to go around the bodies so that they would not have to be taken out of the ground.

“It’s great to see construction workers, engineers and native Americans working together,” Codding said.

In addition to the two bodies, the team found projectile points (arrow heads), beads made from sandstone and shells, and tools according to Jones. One of the most exciting artifacts found during the excavation was a shark’s tooth with beads attached to it, Coding said.

All of the artifacts found during the dig are being housed at Cal Poly for further research but because of the recent vote on the sewer project, no work can be done.

Not everything found during the dig was as exciting as bodies and beads, a lot was stone and shell pieces which had to be sifted through, Codding said.

“The job is tedious, but it can be very exciting,” Codding said.

The 10 students worked as paid interns for two private research groups, Albion Research and Far Western Anthropological Research Group.

The Far Western Web site has a sewer project update page. The last update was October third and it says “As of Monday October third all construction on the sewer line has been halted.”

The $150 million sewer project was created because septic systems in Los Osos could not treat the increased waste due to population growth. The project sparked controversy because of the placement on the plant and financing for the project. In September, the project, which was already underway, was stopped after a special election.

Since then, the state water board rejected a proposal for a $135 million loan for the sewage project.

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