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Thursday, October 11
by Jessica E. Saraceni
October 11, 2012

Isotopes found in Kennewick Man’s bones indicate that he hunted and ate marine animals, such as seals. “You would have to eat salmon 24 hours a day and you would not reach these values. This is a man from the coast, not a man from here. I think he is a coastal man,” said physical anthropologist Doug Owsley of the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of Natural History. Owsley met with tribal leaders from the Columbia Plateau at Central Washington University, where he told them about his most recent findings on Kennewick Man, the name given to a skeleton discovered in 1996 along the banks of the Columbia River. The bones are more than 9,500 years old. Owsley has stated in the past that the shape of the man’s skull is more similar to that of an Asian Coastal people, and that he has found no genetic relationship between Kennewick Man and Native American peoples. This was the first time it has been suggested that Kennewick Man did not even live in the region. Owsley and other scientists went to court to gain access to the skeleton, while tribal leaders wanted the remains reburied.

Archaeologists from Mexico’s National Institute of Anthropology and History have found a 1,300-year-old tomb at the site of Bocana del Rio Copalita in Oaxaca. The tomb contained the remains of a man estimated to have been between 20 and 23 years old at the time of his death. He had been buried with a severed femur that may have been used as a baton. “This finding will help us to understand the funerary practices of the civilizations that occupied Copalita, especially its elite from which we have no information until now,” said Raul Matadamas Diaz, director of the project. The tomb was surrounded by 22 burials, including the remains of a woman who had been buried face down.

Additional human burials have been discovered in the neighborhood of Kakaako, along the 20-mile route of a planned transit rail line in Honolulu. Hawaii’s Supreme Court halted the construction of the rail line in August because it said that the City of Honolulu did not follow the state’s historic preservation and burial protection laws, which require an archaeological survey to be completed before construction begins. The project had originally been segmented into four parts, with surveys and construction taking place segment-by-segment.

A man hired to help with an archaeological excavation of Roman-era ruins in Bulgaria’s city of Sofia has been arrested for stealing ancient coins from the site. The dig is located near a metro station and is a popular stop for residents.

Surveillance cameras are being used in Kentucky to catch those responsible for damage to Civil War artifacts on display at the Cumberland Gap National Historical Park. “I can’t think of a bigger waste of time than law enforcement rangers having to constantly keep an eye on the cannons and maintenance workers having to constantly repaint the cannons,” said Chief Ranger Martha Wiley.

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