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Interstate 15 Construction -- Indian Burial Grounds Collection

Identifier: MS-0133

Scope and Contents

The Interstate 15 Construction – Indian Burial Grounds Collection consists of a small group of correspondence, memoranda, notes and newspaper clippings from June 1977 to April 1978.  The primary subject of these documents is the preservation, excavation and examination of several prehistoric Native American sites associated with the Luiseno Indians of Southern California which were discovered by Caltrans archaeologists in preparation for the construction of the Interstate 15 extension.

Individuals whose correspondence appears in the collection include representatives of the Federal Highway Administration, the Office of Historic Preservation of the Department of Parks and Recreation of the State of California, the Department of Transportation for the State of California, and the American Native Heritage Commission, and the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation.

Of particular note in the collection is a transcript of the proceedings of a public information meeting held by the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation on March 22, 1978 at Lincoln Elementary School in Escondido, California.  This document provides detailed information about the construction of Interstate 15, the discovery of the archaeological sites, and the controversy surrounding their excavation and examination.

While many of the letters in the collection are photocopies, some of them are originals.


  • Creation: 1977-1978


Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

The copyright interests in some or all of these materials have not been transferred to San Diego State University. Copyright resides with the creator(s) of materials contained in the collection or their heirs. The nature of archival collections is such that multiple creators are often applicable and copyright status may be difficult or even impossible to determine. In any case, the user must assume full responsibility for any use of the materials, including but not limited to, obtaining publication rights and copyright infringement. When requesting images from Special Collections & University Archives for publication, we require a signed agreement waiving San Diego State University of any liability in the event of a copyright violation.

Historical Note

In 1968 the United States government and the California Highway Commission recognized the need for an additional route in Southern California which would convey traffic in a north-south direction was needed, and a decision was made to extend Interstate 15 from the Riverside and San Bernardino area southward along U.S. Highway 395.

Required to comply with section 106 of the Federal Historic Preservation Act, the Federal Highway Administration and Caltrans undertook a preliminary archaeological survey in 1971, and in 1976 the discovery of some bedrock mortars prompted a new survey which revealed additional evidence of previous Native American activity and habitation. Caltrans archaeologists identified several sites which would be affected by the proposed highway construction route.


0.42 Linear Feet

Language of Materials


Arrangement Note

The Interstate 15 Construction – Indian Burial Grounds Collection, composed of 20 folders in one box. The collection is arranged in the following manner: Letters appear first in chronological order, followed by memoranda, transcript, statements, notes, and newspaper clippings.



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Repository Details

Part of the Special Collections & University Archives Repository

5500 Campanile Dr. MC 8050
San Diego CA 92182-8050 US