Scientists have carbon dated a skull found near Wrangell last year.
Last October, Vena Stough and her family were trout fishing and moose hunting near Government Slough, about five miles from Wrangell.
While walking through the forest, she found what appeared to be a human skull on the ground.
It’s usually best to leave remains where they are, rather than moving them. It can be considered disrespectful to disrupt them and it’s very important for officials to know exactly where they are found.
However, Stough knew the area was prone to flooding, so she made the decision to carefully bring the skull back to Wrangell.
She photographed the area and pinpointed the skull’s location on Google maps.
She handed the remains over to police, who notified the Forest Service.
The skull has now been carbon dated. It was found to be 1,080 years old.
When remains are determined to be Native American or Alaska Native, officials must follow certain rules in handling them.
These are laid out in the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act.
However, remains can also give invaluable information about what was happening a long time ago in Southeast Alaska.
The story of this skull is one in which politics, tradition, respect, history, and archaeology go hand in hand.
This is the first story in a series KSTK will bring you on archaeology, history, and politics in Southeast Alaska. Tune in next week for a follow-up with Vena Stough.