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Ramona Dahl speaks with Rick Robinson and Richard Jones around a table of artifacts that have been found at Fort Hood at an archeology fair at Texas A&M Thursday, Oct. 12, 2017, in Killeen. The fair had interactive activities, food and different displays of artifacts found in and around Fort Hood by archeologists. 

Fort Hood officials are in the process of moving Native American human remains, some of which are more than 500 years old, off post.

The remains, which include roughly eight people, will be sent to the Tonkawa Tribe of Oklahoma if no other Native American tribe claims ownership in the next 30 days, according to a legal notice from Fort Hood published in the Herald on Thursday. Fort Hood has never before transferred bones to a tribe.

A detailed assessment of the human remains was reportedly made by Fort Hood officials in consultation with representatives of the Apache Tribe of Oklahoma, Caddo Nation, Comanche Nation, Kiowa Tribe, Mescalero Apache tribe, Tonkawa Tribe and Wichita and affiliated tribes.

Fort Hood officials determined that the human remains represent the aboriginal land of the Tonkawa Tribe.

“Newer technological advances and extensive forensic analyses, such as carbon dating and DNA testing, indicated the age of the bone fragments to be greater than 500 years old prompting discussions with several Native American tribes for possible repatriation,” said Tom Rheinlander, Fort Hood director of Public Affairs.

Rheinlander said the remains are stored in a locked, climate controlled curation space at the Directorate of Public Works Cultural Resources at Fort Hood.

Four sites have been discovered at Fort Hood that contain native human remains, according to Rheinlander. He said some remains were found on training sites, but their presence has not affected training.

Representatives of any other Indian tribe or Native Hawaiian organization who wish to claim ownership or control of the human remains will have 30 days following Thursday, Oct. 11, to submit a claim, according to the notice.

In its public notice, the Army said the following bones are part of the proposed transfer. They were discovered between 1992 and 2016.

1992

Bone fragments representing one individual were collected from a shovel test pit during an archaeological investigation of a site in Bell County. In 2001, during a curation project, the cultural resources staff identified the bone fragments as human. The site dates to the Late Prehistoric period (A.D. 700 to 1700). In 2016, the bone fragments were determined by a forensic anthropology lab to be at least 500 years or older. No known individual was identified.

1993

Bone fragments representing one individual were collected from a shovel test pit during an archaeological investigation of a site in Bell County. In 2001, during a curation project, the bone fragments were identified as human. The site dates to the Late Archaic period (1000 B.C. to 300 B.C.) In 2016, the bone fragments were determined by a forensic anthropology lab to be 500 years or older. No known individual was identified.

2000

Bone fragments representing two individuals were collected from a shovel test pit during an archaeological investigation of the site. In 2001, the bone fragments were examined by an osteologist, who verified that they were human remains of an adult and infant. The site dates to the Late Archaic period (1000 B.C. to 300 B.C.). No known individuals were identified.

2001

A bone fragment was identified as human by Fort Hood staff during a curation project. No other information was recorded. The fragment represents one individual. In 2016, the bone fragment was determined by a forensic anthropology lab to be 500 years or older. No known individual was identified.

2002

A Morgan’s Point police officer stopped an individual for a traffic violation and was reportedly told by the individual that human remains were in his vehicle. The individual had permission from a private landowner to dig for arrowheads in a Bell County site. In the course of digging, the individual recovered the human remains. The individual had an outstanding warrant and the human remains were seized as evidence. In 2008, the remains were sent to a forensic anthropology lab and determined to be of Native American ancestry. A Transfer of Possession was signed between the police department and Fort Hood in 2009. No known individual was identified.

2010

Bone fragments representing one individual were collected from a shovel test unit during an archaeological investigation of a site in Bell County. During the testing, a burial site was identified and all work ceased within that area. Inadvertently, human bone fragments were recovered with the faunal remains and were not identified until the material was analyzed at the laboratory. The site dates to the Late Prehistoric period (A.D. 700 to 1700). No known individual was identified.

2016

A small bag of unidentified bones was discovered and sent to a forensic anthropology lab to determine if they were of human origin. No other information was recorded with the bones. The anthropology lab determined that the bones were human, represented one individual and were 500 years or older. No known individual was identified.

mpayne@kdhnews.com | 254-501-7553

Herald staff writer

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