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Archive for Friday, October 11, 2002

Possibly ancient remains excavated at burial site

October 11, 2002

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— The Federal Bureau of Reclamation says it believes it has excavated ancient remains from an American Indian burial ground at Sebelius Reservoir.

The bureau secured the site, the precise location of which has not been made public, after the remains were first discovered in July.

"We currently believe we have the remains of two individuals, and it appears that these are from the Archaic period, maybe 2,000 to 5,000 years old," Judy K. O'Sullivan, a spokeswoman for the bureau, said Wednesday.

The bureau has been working with 10 tribes that might have used the site as a burial ground during their travels through the area. However, no connection to a particular tribe has been established.

Those 10 tribes are the Apache, Cheyenne Arapaho, Kaw, Kiowa, Pawnee and Wichita and affiliated tribes, all of Oklahoma; the Arapaho, Wyoming; the Northern Cheyenne, Montana; the Lower Brule Sioux, South Dakota; and the Three Affiliated Tribes, North Dakota.

"We will continue consultation with the Native America tribes after a forensic anthropologist has examined the human remains," O'Sullivan said.

Bureau officials have said that in their investigation they are trying to be sensitive to the tribes by fencing off the site and keeping it under 24-hour surveillance. Officials also, at the request of one of the 10 tribes, have allowed no photography or public visitation to the site.

While all human remains and cultural materials have been removed from the site, officials still are working to preserve the site. The area also is protected by federal laws associated with such sites.

"Any damage to the site or removal of objects or human remains is punishable under those laws," O'Sullivan added.

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