State anthropologists have uncovered much of the remains of a prehistoric Native American in Diamond Point.
Crews with the Department of Archeology, the Clallam County Sheriff’s Office and Jamestown
S’ Klallam Tribe sifted through sand and dirt Sept. 3-5 looking for the bones of the person after excavators found a partial skull on Aug. 23 after digging for a new septic tank.
The sheriff’s office used photographic evidence with Kathy Taylor, King County forensic anthropologist, to confirm the skull was non-forensic, meaning no recent criminal activity, and turned it over to Guy Tasa, state psychical anthropologist for the Department of Archeology & Historic Preservation.
He said the prehistoric bones are the first to be discovered in the area and that while sifting they found quite a few extra skeletal elements of the person but not all of them.
Tasa thinks the excavation likely clipped the person so the rest of it is in the walls of the hole or nearby.
The found remains were collected in Tasa’s office in Olympia and inventoried.
He said they have some idea of the person’s age but they’ll never know for sure.
“Based on what we found in relation to prehistoric burial, we didn’t find much in the way of artifacts set to a particular time frame,” Tasa said. “It is an adult female. I am confident of that.”
Before searching the Diamond Point property, Tasa contacted nine area tribes in Clallam County to see if they have any interest in the findings. He spoke with Gideon Cauffman, cultural resources specialist for the Jamestown S’ Klallam Tribe, and he said the tribe would prefer the bones be reburied on site.
“We are looking at reentering this person where they were found so they are at least back together,” Tasa said.
He anticipates a decision will be made by the end of this week.
No further digging or sifting is necessary, he said, because the woman likely will be reburied.
From here, Tasa said the Jamestown tribe likely will want to hold a ceremony for the woman before reburying her.
He and Cauffman will record where the bones were found or future reference if more bones are found.
Detective Tom Reyes with the Clallam County Sheriff’s Office said Cauffman oversaw the work crews on site as they dug the drain field this week but no more remains were found.
Dave Salmon, the property owner, said he was thankful to the sheriff’s department for the process going well and he doesn’t have a problem with the woman being reburied on the property.
Tasa reiterated that calling 9-1-1 is the best option when residents discover bones of any kind.
“The last thing we want is someone uncovering bones and not telling anyone,” he said.
Sheriff Bill Benedict said they try to inconvenience homeowners as little as possible through the process.
Reyes said he’s never witnessed a better cooperative effort among the different agencies and the homeowner working together to minimize the impact of the recovery effort and to ensure the proper documentation and respect of the deceased.