SEATTLE (AP) — Washington state archaeologists who took a look at shell deposits found by crews digging a 120-foot-deep pit that will provide access to a stalled Seattle tunneling machine have given the all-clear signal for work to proceed.

The Washington state Transportation Department said Monday that excavation has resumed. Spokeswoman Laura Newborn says archaeologists believe the shell deposits found Oct. 23 are the product of commercial shellfish activities carried out by early Seattle residents around the turn of the 20th century. They’re not believed to involve any Native American cultural material.

That decision was reached last weekend.

The boring machine called Bertha overheated and came to a halt last December about 1,000 feet, or 10 percent of the way, into the planned Highway 99 tunnel.

The $2 billion tunnel is at least a year behind its scheduled late-2015 completion goal.


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