8,000-Year-Old Human Skull Found in Minnesota River

Andrei Tapalaga

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The sample found in the Minnesota river has been traced back to Minnesota's Archaic periodWikimedia Commons/Public Domain

On Thursday last week, two kayakers who were west of Minneapolis on the Minnesota river discovered a human skull on the side of the river. Due to one of the worst droughts the state of Minnesota has seen in the past 40 years, the water receded in some places along the river, revealing a skull that was washed away. 

The local sheriff’s office suspected that this could be the remains of a missing person. The piece of skull found was sent to a medical examiner to confirm that it is from a human skull and after it was sent to the FBI, to see if it matches any previous cases

Fox 9 News shared a photo on Twitter of the piece of skull that had been discovered by the two kayakers.

The reports from the FBI just came back last Thursday, and the sheriff as well as everyone else was surprised to find out that this skull piece is actually 8,000 years old. 

“To say we were taken back is an understatement,” (Quote by Renville County Sheriff Scott Hable)

The FBI forensics team who have analyzed this finding had used a radiocarbon dating technique which identifies how old a certain piece of bone or relic from an organism is based on the amount of carbon-14 present in the sample. 

This sample found in the Minnesota river has been traced back to Minnesota’s Archaic period, which occurred from 2,500 B.C.E. to 11,500 C. E... Based on the way it looks, the person suffered a severe head trauma that led to his or her death. 

A group of Native Americans in Minnesota were offended at how the sheriff’s office announced the discovery of the remains on social media. Dylan Goetsch, a cultural resources specialist with the Minnesota Indiana Affairs Council mentioned that not describing the remains as Native American was culturally insensitive to the Native American community. 

Such archeological findings are quite rare in the state of Minnesota, the last recorded discovery from the same period took place in 1931 when construction workers in northwest Minnesota found the remains of a teenage girl from 5900 B.C.

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