Forensic Investigators Say Bones Found At Lake Eufaula Are 200 To 2,000 Years Old
McALESTER, Oklahoma - A collection of bones found at Lake Eufaula are ancient human remains, the state Medical Examiner's office has determined.
Tuesday, forensic investigators worked about 150 yards from the shoreline of Lake Eufaula, on land that would normally be underwater. They were looking at a series of human bones left exposed on the sand bar at the Oak Ridge Recreation Area.
An investigator from the state Medical Examiner's office said the bones are ancient human remains, dated anywhere from 200 to 2,000 years old.
"We have lots of prehistoric remains that are found in Oklahoma, and we try to work with the tribes, return them, if they're that old, to them, or if there are cemeteries that have been exposed, we would try to get them reburied," said investigator Angela Berg.
Berg said the bones come from at least two individuals, but she can't say if they're male or female.
There are two skulls, jawbones, and spinal bones.
Berg said the tell-tale sign that the bones are ancient comes from the teeth. She said there are marks on the teeth that are left by the kinds of food ancient humans would have eaten.
"There's dental wear on these individuals, which is more consistent with the use of matatas, which is what they use to grind corn. And it would have gravel and small bits of sand in their diet, and then it would wear the teeth down," Berg said.
According to the Corps of Engineers Archaeology Department the land was known for its rivers and streams before Lake Eufaula was built, and it was a popular spot for people to live.
The Corps says the Choctaw and Chickasaw lived there in more modern times, while the ancestors of modern day Caddo and Wichita claimed the land as home in pre-historic times.
Berg said the ME's office will examine the remains as they would for any other case and, hopefully, return them to a proper resting place.
"They're somebody's family member. Even if they're 2,000 years old they're somebody's family member," Berg said.
If the remains are determined to be Native American, the Corps of Engineers will contact the various native tribes that used to live in the area to determine what steps to take next