Within days the report came back. Kennewick Man was a whopping 9,500 years old, give or take a few hundred years. These were not the oldest remains ever found in the state. Washington's oldest human remains (found along the Snake River) have been dated to about 10,300 years old . But those were only partial skeletons. Kennewick Man had one of the most complete skeletons found on this continent for its age. Scientists were ecstatic and eager to conduct tests on the bones.

With modern technology, small fragments of DNA could be grown and evaluated for racial characteristics. The excellent condition of Kennewick Man's skull would easily enable a competent forensic artist to reconstruct the facial features of this mysterious man, and studies of his teeth and joints could tell about diet and stress. But only a small part of this information will now ever be known.

Preliminary examination revealed a few surprises for a man of this great age. His height, five feet ten inches, was much taller than the similar skeletal remains of paleo-Indians and early Native Americans in the area. Also, his head was not flattened on the back, as is the case with most "Indian" remains (due to being bound against a cradle board during infancy). His joints appeared to lack degeneration, meaning his life's work involved little heavy lifting. His teeth were in relatively good condition, meaning he ate mostly meat or raw plants rather than stone ground meal.

This data was gathered prior to the sudden confiscation of the body by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers who had plans to turn the body over to Native American tribes post haste. Scientists around the globe were shocked. Some expressed disbelief that this could be true, knowing the scientific significance of the find.

U.S. Magistrate Judge John Jelderks admonished the U.S. Corps of Engineers for their premature and presumptive action, and suggested that they examine more deeply whether the remains were possibly not those of a Native American. He cited them for having insufficient proof to make their claim and warned against turning over the remains prior to more in-depth examination of Kennewich Man.

Upon returning to the site, where more of the Kennewick Man's remains were found, scientists made an amazing yet expected discovery. In the strata of earth above the level where Kennewick Man was buried, a pink layer of volcanic ash was clearly visible. This layer, known as "tephra" is common in the area and has been dated to 6,800 years ago. This confirmed that Kennewick was old- very old.

During the time that the skeletal remains were locked away and inaccessible to researchers, several legal battles were being waged. The Native tribes, tired of their ancestral graves being examined and desecrated, wanted to bury Kennewick Man in a traditional ceremony. The scientific community, claiming that he was Caucasian, wanted to study the body for anthropological and archaeological information. The issue was complicated but the resolution came quick and final.

In June of 1998 the Clinton Administration sided with the tribes and Kennewich Man's remains were buried in a ceremony that involved mixing the bone fragments of Kennewich Man with various traditional Native burial artifacts. The action was swift and pre-empted the legal arguments that were pending. Could it be that someone in the U.S. government did not want either the publicity or the existence of a Caucasian male in North America circa 7,500 years BC. to be known. Further, a small speck of bone material at a lab in California (which was to determine DNA analysis) was seized by the government before any laboratory examination could begin. Why?

Outcries from scientists around the globe have recently made the U.S. Government open to a compromise. Talks are now being conducted on the possibility of digging up Kennewick Man again and performing such studies as would determine his racial origin But still there continues to be a drag from the governmental agencies involved.

We have located photographs of the facial reconstruction of Kennewick Man and present them here, with some enhancements, for your inspection.

We have been informed that the bones were, in fact, not buried with the remaining artifacts and have been handed over to the safekeeping of a University until the petitions for further study can be heard and a decision on their ultimate use will made. The Clinton administration, keeping a very low profile, has been trying to align itself with the Native American concerns, but also now has been made aware of the importance of Kennewick Man to science. Inside sources tell Viewzone that the eventual examination of these remains will prove that it is Caucasian and, as such, DNA analyses and detailed forensic research now looks hopeful.

Time Line: 7500 BC.

Glaciers were retreating several hundred miles northward and would have been well within the area now known as British Columbia.

Deep ice-core samples taken in the Antarctic regions demonstrate that this time period was coincidental with a moderate climate on Earth and that even some of the polar shoreline was free of ice. This climate would have been the most favorable condition to enable global navigation.

The famous Piri Reis map further supports the possibility or world wide navigation during this period, including an accurate map of the ice free coast of Antarctica.

An examination of the two inch spear head lodged in Kennewick Man's hip revealed it to be the type used by paleo-Indians in the region during this time.

It has been suggested that the spear caused a lingering internal infection of the bone that likely contributed to Kennewick Man's untimely death from sepsis.

The last days of Kennewick Man

Friday, February 24, 2006; Posted: 8:43 a.m. EST (13:43 GMT)

Antrhopologist Douglas Owsley studies the right femur bone of the Kennewick Man skeleton.

Manage Alerts | What Is This? WASHINGTON (AP) -- Kennewick Man was laid to rest alongside a river more than 9,000 years ago, buried by other people, a leading forensic scientist said Thursday.

The skeleton, one of the oldest and most complete ever found in North America, has been under close analysis since courts sided with researchers in a legal battle with Indian tribes in the Northwest who wanted the remains found near the Columbia River reburied without study.

Douglas Owsley, an anthropologist at the Smithsonian's National Museum of Natural History, discussed his findings in remarks prepared for delivery Thursday evening at a meeting of the American Academy of Forensic Sciences in Seattle.

"We know very little about this time period," Owsley said in a telephone interview. "This is a rare opportunity to try and reconstruct the life story of this man. ... This is his opportunity to tell us what life was like during that time."

Researchers have disagreed over whether Kennewick Man was buried by other people or swept up in a flood and encased in sediment.

Owsley concluded the man was deliberately buried, between two and three feet deep, his body placed in the grave, head slightly higher than feet, hands placed at his sides.

The location was riverside, with the body parallel to the river and head pointing upstream.

Using an industrial CT scanner, Owsley was able to study the skeleton in fine sections and also get a better look at a spear or dart point imbedded in Kennewick Man's hip.

The point has previously been described as a Cascade point, typical of the region, but Owsley said that is not the case. Cascade points tend to have two pointed ends and are sometimes serrated, he said, while the point in Kennewick Man has a pointed end and a stem.

The spear or dart entered the man from the front, moving downward at a 77-degree angle, Owsley said. Previous analysis had indicated it might have hit from the back, he noted.

The point was not the cause of death, he said, saying, "This is a healed injury."

"There was no clear indication in the skeleton of cause of death," Owsley said. Kennewick Man had undergone "a lot of injuries, this guy was tough as nails."

There are three types of fractures in the bones, Owsley said, ones the man suffered in his lifetime and which had healed; fractures that occurred after burial from aging of the bones and the ground settling, and breaks that occurred when the skeleton was unearthed.

A team of 20 forensic scientists has been studying the skeleton, he said, and have concluded that the skull doesn't match those of Indian tribes living in the area.

"We know very little about this time period. Who the people were that were the earliest people that came to America," Owsley said. "We are finding out they were coming thousands of years earlier than we had thought," arriving not just over the Bering Strait but by boats and other means.

"This is a very rare discovery. You could count on your fingers the number of relatively complete skeletons from this time period," Owsley said.

Following discovery of the bones in 1996, the Umatilla, Yakama, Nez Perce and Colville tribes urged that the skeleton be reburied without scientific study. They argued that the bones were covered under the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act.

Scientists sued for a chance to study the remains and a federal court ruled there was no link between the skeleton and the tribes.

Copyright 2006 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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