Message #324:
From: AzTeC SW Archaeology SIG
To:   "'Matthias Giessler'" 
Subject: 9000 Year Old Atypical Skeletal Remains Paleoindian or Caucasian?
Date: Thu, 03 Oct 96 12:18:00 MST
Encoding: 56 TEXT


[Though not from the Southwest, these human skeletal remains and the issues 
involved are interesting. -- SASIG Ed.]

From: Stephen Nawrocki 
From: Richard L Jantz 
Date: Sat, 28 Sep 1996 09:26:09 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: Paleoindian remains (fwd)

Recently a 9000 year old skeleton was discovered near Richland, Washington 
on federal land managed by the U. S. Army Corps of Engineers.  The Corps has 
decided to surrender custody (repatriate) this skeleton to local Native 
American tribes without formal study.  The local district engineer, (LTC 
Curtis) has denied repeated requests to examine and measure the remains. 
This is an extremely important skeleton because of its antiquity and the 
impact its loss would have on the entire repatriation process, i.e. 
immediate return of very ancient bones without thorough documentation.

The Corps made its decision without the benefit of any formal report. The 
remains were briefly examined by James Chatters, Grover Krantz and Catherine 
MacMillan. All three observed features that were atypical of modern Native 
Americans and typical of features more frequently seen in modern Caucasians. 
Recent work by Gentry Steele has observed that early American crania exhibit 
greater similarity to Europeans and Southern Asians than they do to modern 
Native Americans. It cannot automatically be assumed that early American 
skeletons are ancestral to modern Native Americans. If a pattern of 
returning these remains without study develops, the loss to science will be 
incalculable and we will never have the data required to understand the 
earliest populations in America.

We have less then 30 days before the remains are turned over. If you wish to 
express your displeasure with the Corps's action, please write or Fax:

    MG Ernest J. Harrell
    Commander, North Pacific Division
    U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
    P. O. Box 2870
    Portland, OR 97208
    Fax: 503-326-7323

    with copies to:
    LTC Donald Curtis, District Engineer (Fax 509-527-7804)
    Mr. Paul Rubenstein, Federal Preservation Office, Corps of Engineers (Fax: 202-761-8839)
    Dr. Michael Trimble, Mandatory Center for Expertise, Corps of Engineers (Fax: 314-331-8895)

Thanks for your help in this matter.

Doug Owsley
Smithsonian Institution

Richard Jantz
University of Tennessee, Knoxville