A skull and bones identified as American Indian

Grants Pass, Oregon (AP) 2-09

A skull and bones unearthed along the Rogue River in Grants Pass have been identified as those of an American Indian.

Eirik Thorsgard, cultural protection coordinator for the Confederated Tribes of Grande Ronde, said that wear of the teeth and facial structure left no doubt.

The bone extending along the side of the skull is wide, and the teeth are worn evenly, evidence of grit in the diet from grinding food, he said.

No lower body bones were found, and the remains aren’t identified as male or female.

Tool-making rock fragments were also found.


The person died within the last 1,000 years, but probably within the last 200 to 300 years, Thorsgard said.

“There’s no way to know without radiocarbon dating,” he said.

He said it is unlikely more bones will be found because much of the site has been dug up already.

Evergreen Bank is creating a park on the property it owns along the river.

Thorsgard said the remains likely would be reburied on the same property, but could end up at a secure location at Siletz or Grande Ronde. He said Evergreen has offered a site.

The bones were found Monday about four feet underground next to the foundation of the Riverside Motel which used to occupy the spot.

Handling of American Indian remains is governed by the National Historical Preservation Act and numerous state laws.

Bank President Brady Adams said a memorial could be built at the site.

“We would do that in cooperation with local native American people along with tribal representatives to make sure we did it in a way that reflects their culture,” he said.