Before I was born, my aunt was having a cabin built up in the woods. When the workers were digging for the foundation, they dug up a bunch of skeletons. My aunt was a school teacher so she kept them to show the kids. Somehow she lost all the parts except a human skull, which she gave me, because I thought it was neat. But now I’m an adult, and having a human head wrapped up in a receiving blanket in my garage gives me the heebie jeebies. And I also realize now that there are probably laws against having it. Question is - what the hell do I do with it now?!? I just want it gone!
Something seems highly irregular about finding human remains while digging a foundation and then keeping them. Especially, “a bunch”.
Put it out for Halloween and see if some hooligans steal it.
Well, I’d put it on my bookshelf, maybe keep a vase of lilies next to it, and make my kids study it, but I guess you don’t want to do that, so maybe call the local college biology department? Or The Bone Room?
There is nothing illegal about owning a skull. However, there was Federal legislation enacted in the '90s that would prohibit you from keeping or selling remains dug up from Native American burial grounds. It might be a good idea to find out whether that’s what you have.
Since the remains are most likely Native American, contact the Washington Historic Preservation Officer’s office (contact info below) and ask them to put you in touch with the Most Likely Descendent (MLD) for your area. They would be more than happy to do a repatriation. I work with many of the Native American groups here in central California and you’d be surprised how often this happens. Most of the stories are exactly like yours, i.e. “My grandfather found this while working in such-and-such area and now we don’t know what to do with it.”
Dr. Allyson Brooks, SHPO
Office of Archeology & Historic Preservation
P.O. Box 48343
Olympia, WA 98504-8343
1063 South Capitol Way
Olympia, WA 98501
Deputy: Mr. Greg Griffith
Ya’ just gotta love the Dope for this kind of stuff.
… Well, given the information posted above, I guess I can’t ask you to mail it to me.
*Damn. Why can’t anyone give me a human skull? *
I know how you feel, Unsquare Dance.
mamakat - I’m an archaeology student, so if you sent it to me it would almost be like sending it to the proper authorities.
I found a human skull in a rubbish skip once. I think my ex has it now.
This isn’t likely to be helpful, but I couldn’t resist tossing it in anyway. A friend of mine teaches anthropology at her local college. One day her car was stolen from the faculty parking lot - she discovered this when she went out to retrieve some teaching aids she had in the trunk. She reported the theft and taught the class as well as she could without the intended props.
A few hours later she got a call from the local police. Her car was found abandoned nearby, with the trunk forced open but the box she had reported was in said trunk still inside. As far as the officer talking to her could guess, the thief or thieves decided to see if anything valuable was in the trunk - perhaps they heard the box sliding around and decided to investigate - and then ran away when they discovered a box of (high-quality replicas of) human skulls
The owners of this place found bones and decided to do the right thing and have the police round. The bones turned out to be dog bones. However the investigation was time-consuming and delayed their restoration works so that a bit later, when they actually did find a human skull, they quietly put it on a mantlepiece in a disused room in a disused wing.
I don’t suppose you have a mantlepiece in a disused room in a disused wing of a welsh castle though.
Since you obviously can’t send it to me - could you possibly post a picture?
Thanks for all the replies! Ol Gaffer, I’m actually in Modesto, CA now. I just forgot to change my info. Who would I talk to here, do you know? It was my aunt’s belief from the way the skeletons were scattered that it was either a burial ground or a place where some kind of battle was fought. (Forgive the foggy details, Great Aunty Dort has been dead for years, so I can’t check my facts!) I will try to get a picture tonight - I have to wake up the kiddos for school now.
Laws schmaws. I’ll take it!
Save it for the next White Elephant Exchange!
Save it for halloween!
Duh, bowling ball.
mamakat, can you say where (nearby town) the skull(s) were originally found? Maybe that would help provide possibilities as to just what the origins were. Us dopers are… you know… a curious sort.
… and Ol’Gaffer, nice post, buddy.