Bone Fragments Await Decision Under NAGPRA

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boca raton calm morning on beach
Calm Morning on Beach in Boca Raton (unrelated to this report)

Earlier this year, a 7-year-old girl brought an unusual fragment of bone and teeth for show-and-tell. She said she found it near the beach in Boca Raton. Her teacher called police suspecting that the bones may be from a recent criminal case.

The police then turned the case over to archaeologists after realizing that the remains were quite old. In fact, it was determined that they date from between 1000 B.C. and A.D. 750. It is one of eight sets of prehistoric human remains found around Florida that were announced recently by NPS under the Native American Graves and Repatriation Act.

“Florida has been occupied for over 12,000 years, so there are a lot of unmarked graves throughout the state,” said Brittany Lesser, spokeswoman for the Florida Division of Historical Resources, which has custody of the bones. “We get dozens of such cases every year.”

Under the law, such discoveries must be investigated, made public, and if no link exists to current tribes, offered to the tribe that had most recently occupied the land. In this case, that’s the Seminole Tribe, which began moving onto the Florida peninsula in the 18th century.

“The recent notice means this case is in the early stages, and leaders of the Seminole Tribe are beginning to discuss next steps,” tribe spokesman Gary Bitner said. “Respect for human remains is of particular cultural concern to the Tribe. As in all such cases, the specifics of how this occurs are worked out in private consultation.”

Read More: Ancient Bones Found In Boca Await Fate

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