scheduled to be excavated today with aid from a paleontologist,
Newport Beach city archaeologist Robert Masters said.
"I'm going to get them to jacket it and pull it out in one piece,
if we can," Masters said.
The first fossils from the site were found about five months ago,
while builders worked on an addition to a home, said Brian Coffee,
concrete foreman for Laguna Construction and Builder.
The first finds were small fragments embedded in chunks of earth.
About one month after the initial discovery, larger bones were found
with help from the weather.
"We found that one after the rains washed [dirt] away. We could
tell it was something," Coffee said.
Still in the ground, the copper-colored fossils rise slightly
above the earth. Masters said the bones are the whale's skull and
mandible. While no one knows exactly how old the bones are, they are
believed to be of a paleontological age.
"You're not talking about hundreds or thousands [of years], you're
talking about millions," he said.
Finding ancient relics around Newport Beach is not surprising to
Masters, who has worked as the city's archaeologist for about two
years and believes Native Americans were drawn to the area for
reasons similar to Newport's modern residents.
"We find those all the time," Masters said. "Anyplace that's nice
for us was nice thousands of years ago."
Once excavated, the bones will likely be kept in storage, as have
other ancient finds.
"Let's save it for posterity and someday our children will be able
to look at things that were removed from the city of Newport Beach,"
* ANDREW EDWARDS covers business and the environment. He can be
reached at (714) 966-4624 or by e-mail at andrew.edwards