SAN ANTONIO – Human remains discovered near Milam Park in San Antonio as part of an archaeological and cultural investigation in May are set to be exhumed this week.
When the remains were first discovered on Santa Rosa street adjacent to Milam Park on May 13, city, state and project officials, as well as local descendant groups, were notified of the discovery per requirements in the Texas Antiquities Permit and Human Burial Remains Protocol.
Public Works is now set to exhume the remains and is “granting descendant groups an opportunity to conduct any spiritual ceremonies or practices at the site” before the removal process begins Tuesday, city officials said via email.
“The city has worked with these groups throughout the process to ensure any such finds were treated with the respect and dignity they deserve, and in compliance with state and local laws and regulations,” city archaeologist Shawn Marceaux said.
A Bexar County District Court granted a petition from city officials for removal of human remains on August 14. San Antonio city officials also received approval for an exhumation permit from the Texas Historical Commission on August 24.
The remains, which have not yet been identified, will not be buried again until the construction of the bond projects is completed, which is scheduled for Summer 2023.
City spokesperson Joe Conger told KSAT that no decision has been made about where the remains will be re-interred but “descendant groups will be involved in that process. The city is committed to being open, transparent and respectful with the sensitivity of the removal and reinterment of human remains within the project area.”
The archaeological investigation is being conducted under an antiquities permit and is part of a larger 2017-2022 Bond Program Project to improve streets and corridors around Milam Park, Marceaux said earlier this year.
“The Cultural Investigation was built into the Bond Project timeline at a cost of $270,000.00 for the archaeological work,” Conger said previously.
The bond program is expected to bring more than 200 miles of new sidewalks to the city and make improvements to 25% of San Antonio’s parks, among other things.
“The human remains and all associated archeological objects will be temporarily stored at UTSA Center for Archaeological Research to await reinterment,” Conger said.