Three scientists yesterday lost their bid to prevent burial of two 9000-year-old human skeletons claimed by the Kumeyaay people of southern California. The 9th circuit federal court in San Francisco ruled against university professors who filed suit in 2012 to halt the repatriation in order to analyze the ancient bones. But the professors aren’t giving up yet and may appeal.
The skeletons, which the researchers say are scientifically valuable because of their antiquity, were discovered in 1976 near the swimming pool of the chancellor’s residence at the University of California, San Diego. After a protracted legal battle, the university agreed in 2012 to return the skeletons to the nearby Kumeyaay tribe, which claimed them. Read more.
The remains of a man buried 3,800 years ago in a richly decorated California grave bear some unusual but unmistakable features — a protruding brow, a lantern jaw, thick leg and arm bones, and teeth so crowded together that at one point they erupt in rows three deep.
According to a new study of the ancient skeleton, they are signs of acromegaly, a rare disorder of the endocrine system that’s similar to gigantism.
The California man is among the very few examples of acromegaly ever found in the archaeological record, and it’s the oldest ever identified, according to Dr. Eric Bartelink, a physical anthropologist at California State University, Chico. Read more.
US customs agents have seized a horde of “priceless” ancient Korean artifacts, brought to California by a US serviceman deployed in the Korean War six decades ago.
The nine seals of the Korean Empire and Joseon Dynasty were recovered in San Diego, after a local man approached a Washington-based antiques dealer seeking to have them valued.
The dealer alerted the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations unit in September, triggering a joint probe by US and South Korean authorities.
"The nine Korean seals recovered by HSI special agents are worth millions in the antiquities business, but they are priceless to South Korea," HSI’s Seoul attache Taekuk Cho said in a statement. Read more.
New research has turned up some perplexing clues in a prehistoric mystery: the fate of three men found in a mass grave in California, their bodies riddled with arrow points and dumped in a pit some 560 years ago.
Their violent deaths came at a tumultuous time in Central California, archaeologists say, as bands were vying brutally for territory and resources.
Indeed, the archaeological record from the period is rife with evidence of hand-to-hand combat: fractured skulls, broken arms, even body parts taken as trophies.
But the new clues, uncovered by anthropologists at the University of California Davis, don’t have anything to do with who killed the men, or why. Instead, they’re shedding light on where the men were from. Read more.
MEXICO CITY.- In the southern limits of the state of Baja California, in the dunes of one of the coasts of the lagoon complex of Ojo de Liebre and Guerrero Negro, archaeologists rescued the bow of a 210-year-old canoe. It is speculated that either this canoe was fabricated by Bajacalifornian Indians or it was dragged by north currents and reused by the groups that inhabited the peninsula.
This vestige, found in the Manuela Lagoon, is part of a series of canoe discoveries registered by the National Institute of Anthropology and History (INAH), throughout the Bajacalifornian coast of the Pacific ocean, all along the Rosarito Beach all the way towards El Vizcaino; here they have also found wood trunks that derive of great and now extinct trees in the peninsula. Read more.
If the Roman Empire had entirely succeeded in its plans to rid Egypt of all things Cleopatra, the California Science Center would have an entirely different display in its third floor exhibition space.
A myth that has served as the story lines of many a film, novel, and stage production would have remained just that: a myth.
Alas, about 150 pieces of Egyptian artifacts “illuminating the life of Cleopatra VII” fill this very space of iconic museum a few miles south of the downtown Los Angeles skyline.
For the next few weeks, patrons will view large statues and little statuettes, illuminating jewelry, once-valuable coins, and elaborately handwritten notes that were once housed in Cleopatra’s lost palace in Alexandria. Read more.
Nobody thought much about the locked metal cabinet in the medical school at the University of Birmingham in the United Kingdom. It was another forgotten fixture in the anatomy department — until a researcher last year found seven skulls with yellowing labels indicating the remains were those of Native Americans from California’s Central Coast.
Earlier this month, the skulls and several bone fragments were boxed and gingerly placed aboard a jet to LAX at London’s Heathrow Airport. In a quiet ceremony, they were reburied in San Luis Obispo County, more than a century after their odyssey began.
"They didn’t volunteer to leave the U.S.," said John Burch, a spiritual leader of the tiny Salinan tribe. "They were kidnapped, and now they’re home."
Repatriation, the return to tribes of indigenous bones and artifacts, is not always a smooth road. A 1990 federal law, the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act, calls for museums and other institutions to give remains and relics back to federally recognized tribes that request them. Read more.
SAN GABRIEL - California’s industrial revolution has its roots in a small grist mill built by an ex-pirate on a 40-acre farm at the San Gabriel Mission, archaeologists said.
Archaeologists working with the Alameda Corridor-East Construction Authority have a chance to uncover more information about the story of Chapman’s Mill and other important mission and Native American artifacts buried just across the street from today’s mission building.
The dig began in December and will continue through mid-March, officials said. Artifacts found so far include a brass religious medallion, a Spanish coin from 1816, tiles, pottery, beads and animal bones.
"This is an unprecedented opportunity for us to delve into the history of San Gabriel and the San Gabriel Valley as a whole," said John Dietler, the lead archaeologist. "Right beneath us are the very roots of Los Angeles." Read more.