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Ancient Bones in Trouble, Older than Kennewick Man, Same Kennewick Man Trouble

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posted on Jun, 13 2009 @ 01:02 AM
Some Ancient Skeletal Remains which were excavated around 30 year back and stored at the UC San diego has been estimated to be around 10,000 year old.

Funny thing is these Ancient Remains are now getting into the same trouble that Kennewick Man is in now.

Locked away in a museum safe near Escondido are perhaps the oldest skeletal remains found in the Western Hemisphere.
More than 30 years after the relics were unearthed during a classroom archaeological dig at UC San Diego, the county's Kumeyaay tribes are fighting to reclaim the bones that anthropologists estimate are nearly 10,000 years old.

Background: What may be the oldest skeletal remains found in the Western Hemisphere were discovered during a classroom archaeological dig on UCSD property in 1976. Kumeyaay Indians are trying to have the relics returned.

What's changing: The Kumeyaay and a UC San Diego committee met last week to discuss the issue and lay out benchmarks the tribes would have to meet to have the remains repatriated.

The future: If the Kumeyaay can prove the remains belong to their ancestors, federal law says the bones must be returned.

“We think it's the oldest multiple burial in the New World,” said UCLA anthropology professor Gail Kennedy, who participated in the 1976 dig with a University of California San Diego professor. “We don't know anything about these people other than they lived on the coast and they were fishermen.”

The remains, which a UC consultant says have been dated between 9,590 and 9,920 years old, make them older than Kennewick Man – skeletal remains found on the banks of the Columbia River in 1996. That collection, which is at the center of a years-long legal battle between American Indian tribes and archaeologists – dates back 9,300 years, scientists say.


Although the intact skeletons are being stored only 30 miles from where they were found, the bones have twice been shipped across the country – in the same kind of boxes that hold frozen chicken in a grocery store, an Indian lawyer says – and have been stored in two San Diego County museums.
In 1976, anthropologists took a class to University House to participate in a dig, knowing skeletons had been dug up from the area in the past.

They were amazed at what they found, Kennedy said.

A young man and an older woman were buried together. He was placed at her feet. Two of his fingers were severed and put in his mouth. Both of their skulls were cracked. The condition of the third skeleton was not as good.

Kennedy does not know what the severed fingers denoted but said some cultures amputate fingers as part of a ceremony.

Kennedy said she took the remains to UCLA, where she examined them for a year before giving them back to UCSD. Many details of where the bones have been for the past 32 years are missing.


and the Kennewick Man Style Trouble....

The Kumeyaay don't care how old the remains are. They simply want to put what they say are their ancestors to rest.

Getting in the way, they say, are garrulous explanations and bureaucracy.

The Kumeyaay also are at odds with UCSD over its plan to tear down University House and replace it with a new one. Tribes say it would further disturb their ancestors' burial ground.

According to members of the Kumeyaay Cultural Repatriation Committee, which was created in 1998, about 29 remains were excavated in 1976 near University House, a home for the UCSD chancellor. Only three, in the safe near Escondido, are accounted for.

“We would like to bury those remains,” said Steve Banegas, chairman of the Kumeyaay Cultural Repatriation Committee. “We no longer want them disrespected.


But, the UC San Diego has backed off from the idea of handing the remains over to the Kumeyaay.

UC San Diego is backing off a proposal to hand over a collection of ancient bones to the region's Kumeyaay tribes, leaving the fate of the remains in question.
In February, the University of California San Diego requested federal approval to transfer the nearly 10,000-year-old bones, now locked in a safe near Escondido, to the tribes.
But David Tarler, an administrator with the National Park Service, said the absence of a formal hand-over agreement between the university and the Kumeyaay made the request moot.
“There has to be a meeting of the minds,” he said yesterday.

posted on Jun, 13 2009 @ 02:13 AM
Well, if they can prove that these are their ancestors, then what the heck, offer 'em over. Just goes to show the hazards of digging up people's cemeteries without asking first.

posted on Jun, 13 2009 @ 02:43 AM
I can certainly understand why there is a controversy over this subject. The thought of people digging up graves of the Kumeyaay's ancestors and handling their remains in the manner that archaeologist do is disrespectful and upsetting. On the other hand even if these remains were returned what becomes of future discoveries?

Forbidding the excavation and removal of ancient artifacts for the purpose of study on any future digs creates a huge problem. It is not unreasonable to want proof of ancestral heritage for these bones from the Kumeyaay people before returning them but this creates a catch 22 situation. The only way to provide proof of ancestral heritage there must be an excavation and removal of these items for archaeological study. Once proof is established then permission for the dig that provided said proof can be denied.

The bottom line is the need to understand our past and there is more then one way to learn about past civilizations. Like the study of the cultures and stories from the descendants of these people but this is where we "shot ourselves in the foot", in a manner of speaking. The outcome of settling America has cost humanity a connection to these ancient cultures and their mythology which might have been considered a fair compromise to this problem.

posted on Jun, 13 2009 @ 03:19 AM
Its too bad that these bones will not be properly studied.
and so much could have been learned in the 30 years they have been boxed up.
It's also a shame that the university didnt do a proper excavation of the site to begin with and find a diferent place for the administrators mansion.
I bet there is a lot to be learned about how the west coast was populated.

I can respect the native americans respect for their ancestors, and digging up a burial ground just because, isnt appropriate.
But when happens stance makes such finds available they should be able to be properly studied.
The way i see it is, that the ancestors want to tell their story and not be forgotten as just the bones of some ancestor,these ancestors are special and do have a story to tell.
Some finds of this nature are so miraculolus, in the way that they were found, its almost as though their spirits are calling out from the grave,"Hey, I was here".

When I was in high school my jr year bio teacher was a retired anthropologist, and he was asked to look at some remains found in the bank of a creek, a guy was fishing and found a skull.
The local law enforcement had determined that it was not a crime scene and called a couple of people in the area that were archeologists and the like( my teacher being one) to excavate the rest of the remains and document what they found.
Basically all they got was most of the skeleton of a female and from where she found they figured she was at least 400 years old to about 600.
They came to this conclusion because she was excavated from under the roots of a large tree that was at least 400 years old.
So arraingments were made to turn her over to one of the local tribes for reinternment. In the intervening time th eremains were available to be studied by the local schools and university. My teacher brought the remains to class for a week while he did his analysis of them.
I remember him, showing us a tray with a partial skeleton on it and asking if any of us noticed any thing in particular about it.
We were 16 year old kids, and nope we didnt notice any thing, so he pointed a few things, 1) that she was female, the main indicator he used was some obscure bone, and not the pelvis.
2) she was in her 30's when she died, he figured this from dental wear.
3) she was not a native american,

the basic shape of the skull and the proportions of certain bones didnt match with the native americans who have lived in the area for many millenia, and the biggest clue was that her head had never been bound to a board as an infant as was the local practice, she was a round head.
We discussed how it could be that a non native american, he thought she would have been a caucasian, woman came to be in central california in the late 16th-early 17th century.
This would have predated any spanish expaditions here by 100 years.
They couldnt reconcile the fact the that she was not native am, and was really 200+ years to early to be a european.
So they took the easy way out and figured she was actually from the early 19th century and had some how gotten burried under this 400yr old tree.
The local tribe still accepted her to be laid to rest in their place, saying that she needed to rest somewhere.

As I think about it now, I think that the earlier date was correct, that she was actually 500 years old, and I know how, she was russian.

When Bering lead the offical russian expedition to alaska they were looking for the source of the furs that had been coming from the east.
Maybe russian fur trappers had made it into once beaver rich central valley very early on.
When the first american trappers got here in the early 1800's they found british/canadian(was there a difference back then) trappers had been already working the area for quite some time 50 years? and when the british trappers got here they found russians here trapping beaver.
It could have been that she was a 16th century russian fur trappers wife or trapper her self, and she met her end on a small side creek in the central valley of california.
The beaver were extinct, or thought to be, but they made a come back in the last 25 years. There are now beaver once again on the san joaquin river.
Could she have been an early unheralded european explorer or was she an unluck early american settler?
Eitherway we'llm never get the chance to know, just like kennewick man, the san diego case, and several other notable finds in the last few years.
Im going on record for future generations,
If I am ever dug up and to be studied, by all means go right ahead maybe the future genreations can learn something from me , I wont care I'll be dead.

[edit on 13-6-2009 by punkinworks09]

posted on Jun, 13 2009 @ 06:00 AM
Bureaucracy is obstructing science.
No one can prove that 10.000 years old bones are "his ancestors".

posted on Jun, 13 2009 @ 07:01 AM
I'm no hippy-dippy New Age mystical type, but I can understand why NAs would prefer to bury their dead than leave them to Science. It's a shame they can't have it both ways because the potential mtDNA contained in the bones or teeth could be very revealing. Indigenous Americans share the same haplogroups yet identifying the haplogroup from 10kya could only be more helpful in solving the migration puzzle. Timelines, diet, health, genetics etc

From a purely objective point of view, Science should take precedence. The thing is, we aren't purely objective and not all cultures accept the relevance of Science. It's clear to many that NAs have lost so much in the past 500 years that they deserve to do whatever they want to do with what they have left. Maybe that's sentiment talking, but right now, that's how I feel. Science will have other opportunities sooner or later...

posted on Jun, 13 2009 @ 08:54 AM
If there's nothing more to be learned scientifically from these remains, and if they're locked away in a museum basement somewhere, what harm does it pose in turning them over to the tribe to which they belong?

posted on Jun, 13 2009 @ 05:26 PM

Originally posted by Monger
If there's nothing more to be learned scientifically from these remains, and if they're locked away in a museum basement somewhere, what harm does it pose in turning them over to the tribe to which they belong?

A lot of bones and bodies are kept in storage for various reasons.
One of the major ones, and one that crops up fairly often, is that new technology comes along enabling us to get a better view of the being's life.

That said, if he is one of their ancestors, they would have more of a claim.

posted on Jun, 14 2009 @ 03:29 AM

Originally posted by RuneSpider
if he is one of their ancestors, they would have more of a claim.

If I am not mistaken I remember reading that the Kumeyaay tribe inhabited this area 10,000 years ago. I didn't spend much time looking into this because I don't think it matters, giving the bones back does not fix the problem. What about the next time this happens and how will this effect publicizing future archaeological finds? How will this effect planning for future digs and their sites?

The desire for knowledge is very strong and I don't see how it can be stopped nor do I think the quest for knowledge should be stopped. What I think is needed is some kind of compromise, but perhaps there is none.

posted on Jun, 16 2009 @ 12:07 PM
In the interest of knowing our past/history and such, it would be a shame to lose opportunities that further our knowledge and understanding. However if it were my direct ancestors I would like to have been asked first.

With different laws, beliefs, states and nations managing who has the final say, its hard to make progress on this kind of research as an overall planet. It would be nice to be able to find an acceptable comprimise. Or is curiosity, the chase of knowledge, and our ability to display objection just going to get harder until it is genetically en mass removed from the common folk?

More specific to the post though: Is there any body or organisation that analises what benifits vs hardship that results in such things as the management of ancestral remains or is it just left to traditional court battles?

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