LAKE JACKSON, Texas - Development on a planned hotel near the Brazos Mall has been stopped after construction crews discovered human remains outside a known slave cemetery on the property.
Archaeologists believe the bodies have been buried on the site since before the Civil War.
"We have been aware for years that this has been a burial site," said Harry Gaul, of the Texas Historical Cemetery Guardianship Association. "We just never knew how large."
The Brazos Mall, which owns the land, hired experts to map out the boundaries of the known cemetery. But once the project started, crews found even more remains outside those boundaries.
The mall sits on land that was part of the Abner-Jackson Plantation, where slaves picked cotton and grew sugar cane. However, the Lake Jackson Historical Association says it's possible the people interned in the site did not work at the plantation.
The developers say they will re-work their plans to protect the gravesites.
"The owner is committed to preserving this," said Patty Sayes, the general manager of the Brazos Mall. "We will preserve this for future generations."
The Brazos Mall will meet Monday will members of the Texas Historical Commission to develop a plan to finish the project while still preserving the site.