Native American remains discovered Tuesday in Menlo Park were less than two feet beneath a cement surface, according to a representative for the construction company that found the bones.

"We were tearing up existing concrete and our project only required us to go about 18 inches in, so we were a little bit surprised," said Summer Short of Tashcon Corp. "When you're talking about graves at 18 inches, it's not something you're looking for."

Seven bone fragments including a large piece of skull were unearthed at 1005 Hamilton Court, according to San Mateo County Deputy Coroner Michelle Rippy, who was sent out to inspect the remains at the request of the Menlo Park Police Department.

Rippy said she determined the bones were from long-dead Native Americans by the shape of the teeth.

According to the Menlo Park police, there is a Native American burial site about 100 yards west of the property, which is leased by Pacific Biosciences.

A Pacific Biosciences representative, who did not want to be identified because he isn't an official spokesman, said the company has been in contact with the state's Native American Heritage Commission and has been asked not to disturb the site until it can be examined. In the meantime, security is keeping an eye on the property, he said.

The Native American Heritage Commission did not respond Wednesday to a request for comment on the remains.


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Email Bonnie Eslinger at beslinger@dailynewsgroup.com; follow her at twitter.com/ bonnieeslinger.