May 06, 2009

Cultural heritage and private property

Officials at the University of California are moving to give two of the oldest-known skeletons in North America to a local Native American tribe, against the recommendation of university scientists who say the bones should be retained for study.

Under federal law, bones are returned to a tribe that can prove 'cultural affiliation' through artefacts or other analyses. At nearly 10,000 years old, the skeletons in question — unearthed in 1976 at the University of California, San Diego (UCSD) — are so ancient that they are not culturally linked to any tribe. [From Nature]
Whoever wants those bones should buy them from UCSD.

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