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
Cabrillo Anthropology Department Home Page | Cabrillo College Home Page
Last Updated 18 Feb 2000 by CSmith