Archaeology Magazine

A publication of the Archaeological Institute of America

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15th C. Californians Were Not Welcomed Home

Monday, October 21, 2013

Davis California DNADAVIS, CALIFORNIA—Scientists from the University of California, Davis, have analyzed the bones and teeth of three men whose remains were discovered on a California farm in 1964. The men had been buried some 560 years ago, in a mass grave without grave goods, and each of them had arrow points in his rib cage. Two of the men also had obsidian points in their spines. The chemistry of the bones indicates that the men had grown up in the region, but had moved away as adults. “For us, the interesting thing was that while they lived as adults somewhere else, as children, they were from the area where they were killed. So that opens up a whole set of new questions surrounding the circumstances of their death,” said anthropologist Jelmer Eerkens. Why were the men treated as enemies when they returned to the Sacramento floodplain? According to Eerkens, the next step in the research involves looking at their DNA to see if the men had been related to one another.