WRANGELL — After carbon testing, a skull found on Government Slough last year has been found to be more that 1,000 years old – and is of Native Alaskan heritage.
The skull, which was discovered by Wrangellite Vena Stough while hunting near the slough on Oct. 5, was first turned over to the Wrangell Police Department, who then handed it over to the Tongass National Forest supervisor’s office in Petersburg.
According to U.S. Forest Service District Ranger Bob Dalrymple, the testing showed a range of dates the skull derives from.
“We received the preliminary results from the radio-carbon dating study that was performed by the University of Utah and the results showed that the skull came from between the years 890 A.D. to 1020 A.D.,” he said.
The skull is now in the possession of the Wrangell Ranger District and plans are underway for its return to the Wrangell Cooperative Association for traditional burial.
“Under the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act, it’s a process we have to go through now,” Dalrymple said. “One of the questions we had in terms of WCA’s involvement was how old it was. Now we know it is a Native skull and there is a formal process with the WCA and we’ll go through that fairly quickly.”
In a letter from Dalrymple to Petersburg’s US Forest Service office last year, the age of the human at the time of death was supposed to “be in his or her 40s,” Dalrymple wrote.