Excavation work at Pioneer Square Park came to a halt yesterday after human remains were unearthed near the corner of Meares and Quadra streets.
City crews were removing asphalt to make way for a new pathway when the remains were found less than half a metre under the surface, said Katie Hamilton, City of Victoria spokeswoman.
While the site was used as the city cemetery between 1855 and 1873, crews did not expect to find human remains buried so close to the surface, Hamilton said. There are an estimated 1,300 human remains buried within the park.
"An archaeologist is working on site today to complete an assessment of the entire park and will remain on site when future work commences," she said.
Surface excavation work and trench digging along Quadra Street by city crews will continue without delay, while any further soil disturbance will only be done after an archaeologist assessment is completed, Hamilton said.