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Scientists continue study of Kennewick Man remains

A group of scientists is still carrying out studies on the remains of Kennewick Man, a 9,000-year-old skeleton found on former reservation land in Washington.

The initial results of the studies were presented at the American Academy of Forensic Sciences meeting yesterday. Doug Owsley, the lead scientist, said Kennewick Man was purposely laid to rest parallel to the Columbia River, where the remains were found. Previously, the researchers didn't believe he was buried in a deliberate manner.

Owsley said Kennewick Man was probably in his 30s when he died. A spear point found in his right hip entered his body from the front, not the rear as scientists previously thought. The wound, which healed over, was likely caused when Kennewick Man was between 15 and 20 years old, the team believes.

The scientists are now trying to compare Kennewick Man's skull measurements to other populations. An archaeologist who first handled the bones previously suggested that he didn't resemble any present-day Native Americans but no conclusion has been drawn yet.

The scientists won the right to study the remains after a lengthy court battle with the Interior Department and four tribes who claimed Kennewick Man as an ancestor. The courts blocked Interior from repatriating the remains to the tribes, saying no cultural link could be proved.

Get the Story:
Kennewick Man yields more secrets (The Seattle Times 2/24)
Kennewick Man buried by others, scientist finds (AP 2/24)

NAGPRA Amendment Bill:
S.536: Technical Corrections Act

Court Decision:
BONNICHSEN v. US (February 4, 2004)

Relevant Links:
Kennewick Man, Department of Interior -
Friends of America's Past -
Kennewick Man Virtual Interpretive Center, The Tri-City (Washington) Herald -

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