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24 January 2010
3,000-year-old remains of a woman found in California

The skeletal remains of a Native American woman who likely lived more than 3,000 years ago were uncovered by trenching work at Carmel Valley Ranch (California, USA). Construction workers uncovered the ancient grave, and appropriate county and state officials were notified, said county Planning Director Mike Novo. Salinas archaeologist Gary Breschini went to the site with a coroner's deputy, which he often does when possible remains of Native Americans are discovered.
     Breschini said the partially uncovered remains were those of a woman, probably 28 to 30 years old, who lived with members of the Esselen tribe more than 30 centuries ago. He estimated the age of the woman by examining the comparative wear on her molars. Native Americans who moved into the area at a later time made acorns a major part of their diet, and they typically had far more wear on their teeth, he said. Breschini said the woman likely was laid to rest in an isolated burial site. Only two or three pieces of shell were found, and there was no village or major Native American site nearby, he said.
     Under state law, the California Native American Heritage Commission designates the deceased's "most likely descendant," and that person is responsible for deciding how to handle the remains. "Normally, the preference is to leave them in place," Breschini said. Louise Miranda Ramirez, tribal chairwoman of the Ohlone Costanoan Esselen Nation, was designated as the person to make arrangements on how to handle the remains.

Source: The Herald - Monterey County (13 January 2010)

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