PORT ANGELES — Archaeological excavation at the graving yard — flagged last month to begin by now — cannot start until state officials contract with an archaeologist to complete the $4.5 million process to remove skeletal remains and Klallam artifacts from the 22-acre site.
State Department of Transportation officials say signing a contract with an archaeologist is only a few days off.
“It is just a matter of finalizing and signing,” Lloyd D. Brown, DOT’s communications manager for the Olympic region, said Thursday.
Archaeological excavation was planned to begin Thursday as outlined in a March 16 agreement among state, federal and tribal officials.
The four-month archeological process would lead to a full construction restart of the graving yard before Labor Day.But without a signed contract between DOT and Gig Harbor-based Lynn Larson of Larson Anthropological Archaeological Services Ltd., full-scale archeological work cannot begin, said Frances G. Charles, Lower Elwha Klallam secretary-treasurer who oversees archaeology at the graving yard for the tribe.