Back in 1996, human remains were discovered on the banks of the Columbia river in Kennewick, Washington. 18 years later, the Kennewick Man will be brought to life in a new 688-page book.

The story of the Kennewick Man has been told many times, in lectures and interviews. This peer-reviewed book titled, Kennewick Man: The Scientific Investigation of an Ancient American Skeleton will offer the most detailed account of him yet.

The study of the Kennewick Man has seen its share of bumps over the past 18 years. Researchers were locked with Native Americans in a legal battle for nine years. Researchers wanted to study the remains, while Native Americans claimed him as one of their own ancestors and wanted the bones returned for reburial. The U.S. Court of Appeals sided with the researchers in 2004, and ruled that no genetic link could be established between the Kennewick Man and Native American tribes.

The new book will include fresh details on the Kennewick Man’s identity, where he resided and how old he was when he died.

Who was the Kennewick Man and where did he come from? His skull doesn’t match up with skulls of later Native Americans. In fact, the dimensions of his skull more resemble Pacific island populations such as Polynesians or the Ainu of Japan.

The Kennewick Man is believed to have come from somewhere along the Pacific Northwest Coast, maybe even as far away as the Aleutian Islands or Asia. Researchers conclude he was 5’ 11” tall, weighed 163 pounds and was well-muscled. He was believed to have hunted for seals and other various marine life.

The Kennewick Man wasn’t without ailments. He had a projectile point lodged in his hip, five broken ribs that didn’t heal properly, two small dents in his skull and an overused shoulder from throwing spears.

The new findings to be presented in the book coming this fall are sure to be debated, though. James Chatters, a forensic anthropologist who excavated the remains of the Kennewick Man, said, “If he’s an eater of seals, he’s in the wrong position,” according to the Washington Post. The area where his remains were found didn’t have any seals at the time. Plus, Chatters believes the spear point is a style known as a Cascade Point.

Kennewick Man: The Scientific Investigation of an Ancient American Skeleton will be published this fall by Texas A&M University Press.

Image credit: Smithsonian Institute


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