July 11, 2005


Scientists Detail Study of Kennewick Man (MELANTHIA MITCHELL, 7/11/05, Associated Press)

Cloistered around padded tables, scientists from around the country have been peering through microscopes and measuring bone fragments trying to unearth the history of an ancient skeleton found along the Columbia River.

Researchers on Sunday offered details of their first comprehensive study of the 9,000-year-old Kennewick Man, one of the oldest and most complete skeletons ever found in North America. [...]

"This individual's biography is written in his bones," said Dr. Hugh Berryman, a forensic anthropologist from Middle Tennessee State University. "This is a window into the past." [...]

"There appears to be some European-type facial features." That, he said, could suggest there were other migrations of people other than those strictly out of Asia.

Certain skull measurements, including the shorter face and less width across the cheekbones, don't match that traditionally associated with Native American characteristics, said Dr. Douglas W. Owsley, a forensic anthropologist with the National Museum of Natural History at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C.

Those observations have been part of the nine-year legal battle between researchers and Northwest Indian tribes.

Posted by Orrin Judd at July 11, 2005 4:01 PM

Doctors Douglas W. Owsley and Hugh Berryman have dedicated their lives to studying dead bodies, I think it's safe to conclude they are necrophiliacs.

Posted by: carter at July 11, 2005 4:50 PM

Both the NW tribes and the Feds tried desperately to keep the remains out of the hands of researchers. This is one of several recent finds suggesting that North America was settled by a variety of peoples from a variety of places. Thereby calling into question a great many established "truths" of both redman and paleface. I had an interesting email discussion of this with Sherman Alexie ... he the great Indian iconoclast. He's been very annoyed at the know-nothing behavior of both the tribes and white (liberal) academics.

Posted by: ghostcat at July 11, 2005 5:08 PM


Posted by: oj at July 11, 2005 5:43 PM


Know any pathologists?

Posted by: oj at July 11, 2005 5:58 PM

Yeah, settled. Aboriginally. You're not into the horse culture (nomadic)romance, are you?

Posted by: ghostcat at July 11, 2005 6:57 PM

Suggesting to an aboriginal activist that his people weren't always here and actually came from elsewhere can be a very hazardous activity.

Posted by: Peter B at July 12, 2005 8:22 AM

Cat: Its deeper than that. Most NA mythologies, like those of stone age cultures everywhere (see the Greek story of the Sown Men), hold that the tribe, in whose language their tribal name means the People or the Real People, was created by their patron god out of the local soil. The greek word is autochthonous, meaning to have sprung from the soil a people inhabits, from Gk. autokhthon, from auto- "self" + khthon "land."

Any suggestion that the NAs came from another continent is a blow to their mythos, which upsets them greatly.

As for the horses, There were no horses in the Americas in 1491 C.E. The Conquistadors brought them to Mexico in the in the sixteenth century. Horses did not become common on the northern plains until the second half of the eighteenth century. Horse culture was a brief interlude of less than two centuries.

Posted by: Robert Schwartz at July 12, 2005 12:49 PM

What's "C.E.?" It seems to mean the same thing as A.D..

We all should realize that the use of "C.E." is an admission of weakness and frustration.

To address the Kennewick man issue, I may point out that this kind of Marxist "higher truth" business is precisely where "C.E." thinking takes us--to where we try to change history and the meaning of words to assuage this or that feeling.

Posted by: Lou Gots at July 13, 2005 9:41 AM