Buhl woman


Buhl woman

Buhl Woman is the name for a skeleton of a prehistoric woman found in a quarry near Buhl, Idaho, United States, in January 1989. The skeleton's age has been estimated by radiocarbon dating at 10,675 ± 95 BP (before present), which confirms this as the oldest human remain found in the Americas. The discovery was made by a quarry worker when he noticed what was found to be a thigh bone in the screen of a rock crusher. The nearly-complete skeleton was subsequently unearthed nearby.

cientific analysis

An analysis of the skeleton showed that Buhl Woman was between 17 and 21 years old, 5' 2" tall (1.56m), and was in general good health. The cause of death could not be determined.

Carbon and nitrogen isotope analysis of Buhl Woman's bone collagen suggests that the Buhl Woman ate largely bison and elk, with occasional salmon and other fish. The wear patterns in her teeth indicated that the meat was cooked before eating. Her teeth showed signs of heavy wear caused by sand or grit, wear that would be consistent with the use of stone grinding or pounding. Defects in tooth enamel and lines of interrupted growth on her femur indicate periodic malnutrition. This nutritional stress could be seasonal and/or the result of childhood diseases.

No genetic testing has been done, and there is disagreement concerning the morphology of the skull. Todd Fenton of Michigan State University has indicated that the skull's morphology is similar to that of American Indian and East Asian populations, while according to anthropologist Richard Jantz of the University of Tennessee, "She doesn't fit into any modern group but is most similar to today's Polynesians."

Grave goods?

Buhl woman's right cheek lay atop a pressure-flaked, pointed obsidian tool. Since this tool shows no sign of wear, and since the positioning of this tool seems deliberate, it has been theorized that it was made as a grave offering. In addition, fragments from what could be an awl or pin and a broken bone needle were found with the skeleton, along with a badger bone. Like the obsidian tool, the eye of the bone needle showed no signs of wear. [http://lithiccastinglab.com/cast-page/2003augustwindustpointbuhl.htm For photos of these tools, click here.]

Reburial under NAGPRA

In 1992, under the provisions of the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act, the remains and the artifacts were turned over to the Shoshone-Bannock of Fort Hall over the strenuous objections of many archaeologists, and despite the lack of evidence linking Buhl Woman with this tribe. The tribe reburied the remains in 1993.

References

* Green, Thomas J., Cochran, Bruce, Fenton, Todd W., Woods, James C., Titmus, Gene L., Tieszen, Larry, Davies, Mary Anne, Miller, Susanne J., "The Buhl Burial: A Paleo Indian Woman From Southern Idaho", "American Antiquity", Vol. 63 No. 3, 1998, pp. 437-456.
* [http://www.hcn.org/servlets/hcn.Article?article_id=2100 Silva, Samantha, Tarmina, Paul, "A Famous Skeleton Returns To The Earth", "High Country News", (March 8, Vol. 25 No. 4), 1993.]
* [http://www.archaeology.org/9811/newsbriefs/buhl.html Slayman, Andrew, "Buhl Woman", "Archaeology" (magazine), Volume 51 Number 6, November/December 1998]

ee also

*Forensic anthropology
*Kennewick man


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