RICHLAND -- Human bones found along the Columbia River shore north of Richland last year have been turned over to a group of Indian tribes.
A human jawbone and two teeth were found Aug. 22, 2009, on Army Corps of Engineers land.
The exact location where boaters discovered the bones has not been disclosed, but Benton County Coroner Rick Corson said they were on the bank of the river on the Benton County side under about 2 inches of water.
The 9,300-year-old bones of Kennewick Man also were found on the Columbia River. However, the bones found in 2009 are believed to be more recent.
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The corps initially consulted with the Confederate Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation, which indicated it believed the jawbone was Native American.
However, the corps then hired a University of Idaho anthropologist for a second opinion and to do more analysis.
That resulted in a finding that the mandible and teeth had traits unique to the Native American population, said Bruce Henrickson, spokesman for the corps.
The geologic age of the remains was determined to be between 300 and 350 years based on the amount of mineralization on the teeth, Henrickson said. The conditions and characteristics of the teeth also were compared to others from that time period.
The Walla Walla district of the corps has turned the bones over to a group of tribal governments that includes representatives of the Wanapum Band, the Nez Perce Tribe, the Confederated Tribes of the Colville Reservation, the Confederated Tribes and Bands of the Yakama Nation, the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation and the Confederated Tribes of the Warm Springs Reservation.
* Annette Cary: 509-582-1533; firstname.lastname@example.org