SAN DIEGO - The Kumeyaay tribe of California is trying to reclaim 10,000-year-old remains unearthed in a dig more than 30 years ago
University of California anthropologists, who unearthed the site in 1976, say it may be the oldest multiple burial site in the Americas, the San Diego Union-Tribune reported Sunday, older than the Kennewick Man found in Washington State in 1996.
But members of the Kumeyaay Cultural Repatriation Committee say the bones belong to their ancestors who have lived in the area between San Diego and 60 miles into Mexico since the beginning of time, and they want to lay them to rest, the newspaper said. They also say the University of California, San Diego, has taken poor care of the remains, including losing track of all but three of the 29 skeletons found in the original dig and shipping the collection across the country from museum to museum.
Federal law requires remains be returned to federally recognized tribes that claim them, but the University is waiting on an experts' committee charged with determining whether the bones are Kumeyaay or belong to some unknown older group of people.
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