DISCOVERY BAY — Bones that included a human skull unearthed last month during an excavation have been determined to be Native American, a state historic preservation officer said.
Allyson Brooks, the director of the state Department of Archaeology and Historic Preservation, confirmed the findings late Tuesday and said her agency is working with tribes on next steps.
The state still has the remains and is conducting an analysis, said David Brownell, the historic preservation officer for the Jamestown S’Klallam Tribe late Wednesday.
Brownell said Wednesday the remains include at least two individuals, both Native American and “definitely” from one of the S’Klallam tribes.
A homeowner in the 3200 block of state Highway 20 near Discovery Bay had hired an excavation company, which was digging on the property Aug. 21 when the skull was found.
The homeowner called the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office to investigate, and the agency contacted the state archaeology department with photos of the bones.
Brownell said the state has a mandated process after it determines remains are Native American to contact tribes to see if they have interest. The state typically contacts all of the Salish Sea tribes, he said.
Brownell confirmed the Jamestown S’Klallam Tribe has expressed interest in the remains.
“It was at one of our old village sites that was on Discovery Bay,” he said.
Undersheriff Andy Pernsteiner said last month the skull was “quite old” based on the condition of the teeth, which didn’t have any dental work. The skull and the rest of the bones initially were stored at the sheriff’s office in Port Hadlock.
Brownell said the tribe typically doesn’t release public information about reburials. His office handles about six to 12 similar cases per year, he said.
Jefferson County Managing Editor Brian McLean can be reached at 360-385-2335, ext. 6, or at [email protected].