KINGS COUNTY, Calif. (KSEE/KGPE) –  There has been a sharp rise in the number of human skeletons being found in Kings County over the past several months, according to the Sheriff’s Office.

According to the Sheriff’s Office, the rise is due to several factors, including construction in the area and the recent flooding and levee construction causing the ground to be shifted around.

Deputies say commercial projects and even private smaller-scale projects have the potential to expose a Native American burial site. If the remains are confirmed to be human, officials say they are usually of Native American descent.

If skeletal remains are found, advice is to let the Sheriff’s Office or agency responsible for law enforcement services in that area to be immediately contacted and notified of the discovery. Officials say that gives law enforcement an opportunity to investigate the remains and contact the coroner’s office – which will assist in the determination as to whether the remains are that of an animal or human.

If a skeleton is found at a job site, official advice is to stop work immediately and let law enforcement know about the discovery.

Once the determination is made by the coroner as to the type of remains, the remains may be collected for further analyses by an anthropologist, dispositioned, or left in place until a representative of the State of California Native American Heritage Commission can arrange for the proper disposition of the native’s remains.