Kennewick, Washington, USA

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Site of the burial of a single adult male, on land controlled by the US Army Corps of Engineers, that has caused considerable legal and ethical turmoil over questions of ownership, cultural affinity, and the needs and desirability of scientific analysis. Known as the Kennewick Man, the skeleton was found in 1996 by spectators at a boat race after the remains eroded from an embankment. Upon examination it was found that, rather unusually, a stone projectile point was embedded in the pelvis. A radiocarbon determination dates the remains to about 7300–7600 bc (8410 ± 60 BP, UCR‐3476). Initially, the Army Corps of Engineers proposed that the remains were culturally affiliated to the local Umatilla tribe and agreed repatriation. However, competing claims were brought forward, amongst them one by a group of scientists who wanted to study the remains. In September 2000 the USA's Department of the Interior determined its view that the remains were those of a Native American and were covered by the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act. Five claimants were identified in the ruling, and at the end of 2000 the remains were still in storage in a museum in Seattle. While the first part of the judgement is widely accepted, considerable concern has been expressed over the generality of the wide‐ranging cultural attribution which many believe runs contrary to both the spirit of NAGPRA and the potential for the scientific investigation of early people and their societies.

http://www.kennewick?man.com Virtual interpretation centre for the discovery and study of the remains of Kennewick Man, found in July 1996 in the Columbia River.


J. C. Chatters, 2001, Ancient encounters: Kennewick Man and the first Americans. New York: Simon & Schuster

Subjects: Archaeology.

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