The First Art Newspaper on the Net    Established in 1996 Wednesday, August 17, 2022


Human skull about 8,000 years old is found in Minnesota river
In an undated image provided by the Renville County Sheriff's Office, part of a skull, believed to be about 8,000 years old, found in the Minnesota River in September 2021. Found by two kayakers on a river depleted by drought, the skull most likely belonged to a young man who lived around 5500 to 6000 B.C., the authorities said. Renville County Sheriff's Office via The New York Times.

by Eduardo Medina



NEW YORK, NY.- Two kayakers were enjoying the last glimmers of summer on the Minnesota River last September when they spotted an odd brown chunk along the bank. They paddled toward it and looked closer. It appeared to be a bone, so they called the Renville County Sheriff’s Office.

When Sheriff Scott Hable was told of the kayakers’ discovery near the city of Sacred Heart, about 110 miles west of Minneapolis, his mind raced to the first possible explanation: Maybe it was the remains of a missing person from a nearby county?

“I don’t think anybody was anticipating the news to come,” Hable said.

The sheriff’s office sent the bone to a medical examiner and then to a forensic anthropologist with the FBI, who was not able to pinpoint an identity but did make a startling discovery Tuesday through carbon dating. The bone was part of a skull and most likely was from a young man who lived as many as 8,000 years ago, between 5500 and 6000 B.C., Hable said, citing the anthropologist’s findings.

“We have this sort of bizarre report that it’s ancient,” Hable said by phone Wednesday.

The young man had likely traversed parts of what is Minnesota during the Archaic period in North America, Hable said, when people ate primarily nuts and seeds before the time of subsistence farming, according to a report by the Archaeology Laboratory at Augustana University, in South Dakota.

Kathleen Blue, a professor of anthropology at Minnesota State University, said Wednesday that the young man would have likely eaten a diet of plants, deer, fish, turtles and freshwater mussels in a small area, rather than following mammals and bison as they migrate for miles.

“There’s probably not that many people at that time wandering around Minnesota 8,000 years ago, because, like I said, the glaciers have only retreated a few thousands years before that,” Blue said. “That period, we don’t know much about it.”

Minnesota has three other remains from that time period that have been studied, she said, adding that it is rare for Native American tribes in the state to allow the bones of their ancestors to be examined for archaeological purposes.

The FBI anthropologist had examined a depression on the skull and determined that the man had sustained a severe head wound, which Hable said was evidence of “blunt force trauma.” It’s unclear if that is how the young man died.

Blue noted that the edges of the wound appear smooth and rounded on the skull in pictures, indicating that it had healed and not been his cause of death.

“It would have been something he actually survived,” Blue said. “Bone has an amazing ability to try to sort of fix itself after there’s been a traumatic injury.”

She said the skull might have drifted in the river for thousands of years or been placed in a burial site close to the water and carried away over time.

On Wednesday, when the Renville County Sheriff’s Office posted a news release about the skull and pictures of it, Hable said, his office was contacted by various Native American groups in the state, including the Minnesota Indian Affairs Council. They informed the sheriff’s office that publishing photos of the skull was “very offensive to the Native American culture,” he said.

“Because there’s a chance that the bones belong to somebody with Native American heritage, we’re just going to honor their request,” Hable said, adding that the post was taken down Wednesday afternoon.




Dylan Goetsch, a cultural resources specialist with the Minnesota Indian Affairs Council, said in a statement Thursday that the sheriff’s office “showed a complete lack of cultural sensitivity by their failure to reference the individual as being Native American, their treatment of the individual as a piece of history and their lack of tribal consultation.”

He added that the council had not been made aware of the discovery until seeing the Facebook post.

“Seeing Native American ancestors being displayed and treated as a piece of history is traumatic for many Native Americans as, for centuries, Native American burials were looted, vandalized and destroyed,” Goetsch said.

Blue said the skull was definitely from an ancestor of one of the tribes in the area today.

“The Minnesota Indian Affairs Council and other ones are very protective of any remains,” she said. “Usually there would not be any sort of invasive analysis and photos are not allowed.”

The Private Cemeteries Act in Minnesota states that it is a felony “to willfully disturb a burial ground.” If the sheriff had not sent the skull to the medical examiner’s office — believing that it may have been from a recent murder victim — the skull most likely would never have been analyzed by an anthropologist, Blue said.

The skull is expected to be returned to Native American tribes in the state, Hable said.

Environmental circumstances played a role in the skull’s discovery. A severe drought overtook the state last year, with above-normal temperatures depleting rivers and exposing banks that are typically awash, according to a report from Minnesota’s Department of Natural Resources.

“In some parts of the state, the drought was as serious as anything experienced in over 40 years,” the report said, “though for most of the state it was the worst drought in 10 to 30 years.”

Global warming increases the likelihood of drought. Climate change can also affect precipitation patterns around the world, making dry areas drier.

Hable said that parts of the Minnesota River “were exposed that hadn’t been before” because of the drought.

“Of course, in a kayak, they’re right there, and they happened to spot it,” he said of the people who found the skull. The sheriff’s office did not release their names.

Similarly, a drought made worse by climate change in the Southwest had dropped the water levels in Nevada’s Lake Mead, exposing a metal barrel this month that contained the remains of a person killed about four decades ago, according to the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department.

Officials there had said that the water level drop could result in other bodies being found at the lake.

But Hable said he didn’t expect more skulls, let alone one from a different millennium, to be unearthed in his area anytime soon.

“This,” he said, “is extremely rare.”

This article originally appeared in The New York Times.










Today's News

May 20, 2022

Skinner's American Art Sale celebrates the nation's landscape and spirit

Through a lens, documenting Indigenous culture

Human skull about 8,000 years old is found in Minnesota river

Property from the collection of Kirk and Anne Douglas hits $343,000 at auction

Christie's announces highlights included in the 20th/21st Century Milan Online Sales

'I want to live in that room': Designers on their Broadway sets

8th Triennial of Photography Hamburg presents its opening weekend and festival program

The Hunterian announced as co-commissioning partner for Imperial War Museums' art commissioning programme

Phillips announces highlights ahead of the London Photographs Sale

H&H Classics to offer 1960 Jaguar XK150 S 3.8 Litre Drophead Coupe

The Shape of Light, co-commissioned by M+ and Art Basel premieres in Hong Kong

Kati Heck shows a series of new paintings, drawings and furniture sculptures at Tim Van Laere Gallery

Berry Campbell now exclusively representing the Estate of Lynne Mapp Drexler

Graphic Turn. Like the Ivy on the Wall, new exhibition focuses on graphic art initiatives in Latin America and beyond

Solo photography exhibition by Charlotte Abramow on view at Maison Guerlain Paris

The Design Museum presents the first major exhibition on the design of the world's most popular sport, football

GAZELL.iO opens the inaugural solo show by its represented artist Brendan Dawes

Bonhams to offer property from the archive of legendary DJ and broadcaster Jon Peel

Rare royal records made public ahead of Jubilee

Original Shepard Fairey 'HOPE' from Obama's presidential run sells for record-setting $735,000

Dancing to 'Billie Jean' led him to 'MJ.' Now he's a Tony contender.

Artist world records for Martin Wong, Kenny Scharf, and Felrath Hines at Bonhams

Christie's announces a special curated exhibition exploring the relationship between art and literature

Christie's presents 'Six Rings - Legacy of the GOAT'

Are Buyers' Agents a Good Idea?

5 Reasons for Architects to Use Polycarbonate in Their Building Design

Addiction - The Risks to Your Health and What to Do About It

Magento 2 Migration - Points to Consider




Museums, Exhibits, Artists, Milestones, Digital Art, Architecture, Photography,
Photographers, Special Photos, Special Reports, Featured Stories, Auctions, Art Fairs,
Anecdotes, Art Quiz, Education, Mythology, 3D Images, Last Week, .

 



Founder:
Ignacio Villarreal
(1941 - 2019)
Editor & Publisher: Jose Villarreal
Art Director: Juan José Sepúlveda Ramírez

Royalville Communications, Inc
produces:

ignaciovillarreal.org juncodelavega.com facundocabral-elfinal.org
Founder's Site. Hommage
to a Mexican poet.
Hommage
       

The First Art Newspaper on the Net. The Best Versions Of Ave Maria Song Junco de la Vega Site Ignacio Villarreal Site
Tell a Friend
Dear User, please complete the form below in order to recommend the Artdaily newsletter to someone you know.
Please complete all fields marked *.
Sending Mail
Sending Successful