Spirit Cave Man

 Buhl Woman

Kennewick Man

 Prince of Wales Island Man

Found: July 1996, in Kennewick, Wash.
Age: 9,300 years
Discoverers: college students
Significance: Kennewick Man's bones, a rare find in being both so old and so complete, have become the basis of a legal battle between eight anthropologists and the U.S. government due to tribal concerns of Native Americans.
When washed out of the bank of the Columbia River, the male skeleton first was thought to be the remains of a historic homesteader. Closer examination found the business end of a spear - a prehistoric point flaked from volcanic rock - stuck deep into his hip.

A radiocarbon dating lab determined that the skeleton was roughly 9,000 years old. That's when Kennewick Man started making headlines, which have continued since a legal fight broke out over his future.

For all the fuss, nothing is certain about who he was or where he came from. Some have noted Eurasian features like a narrow face and braincase and a prominent nose that would have made the 5'9" man stand out in a crowd of typical Native Americans. This suggests the first immigrants were a diverse and distinctive lot.

He appears to have been a handsome, healthy hunter and fisher with few possessions. He met his end between age 40 and 55. Rather than being buried where he lay, as no grave pit or artifacts were found, he may have landed there in a flood. The bone of his pelvis had grown around and covered the spear point, so Kennewick Man had survived the injury to his side. Copyright © 1999 Discovery Communications Inc.

For additional information try the following web sites:

National Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian Institution

Thorough discussion of the controversy surrounding the discovery of this human ancestor, by James Chatters, reprinted from the Newsletter of the American Anthropological Association.

Kennewick Man: Science and Sacred Rights

EDSITE. Excellent lesson plan based upon the Kennewick Man controversy. Allows students to explore the remarkable find, as well as carefully consider the relationship between scientific inquiry and religious practice and belief.

Kennewick Man Virtual Interpretive Center

Tri-City Herald Online. Series of articles devoted to issues surrounding the 1996 discovery of the 9,200-year-old bones of the Kennewick Man in eastern Washington state. Includes a treatment of the debate between Native Americans, scientists, and other religious groups concerning the proper treatment of the bones.

Reburial Dispute surrounding Kennewick Man

Archaeology Online. Links to web sites detailing the history of Kennewick Man as he made his way through the federal bureaucracy and courts.

 O T H E R   A N C I E N T   I M M I G R A N T S

Luzia  | Spirit Cave Man  | Buhl Woman
Kennewick Man  | Prince of Whales Island Man


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Last Updated 18 Feb 2000 by CSmith