Old bones uncovered near Port Angeles are Native American

State: Remains found near Olympic Discovery Trail are between 500 and 1,000 years old

PORT ANGELES — State officials have decided that centuries-old bones found in January along an eroded beachfront next to the Olympic Discovery Trail are of Native American origin.

The determination was made by the state Department of Archaeology and Historic Preservation and state Physical Anthropologist Guy Tasa, according to a press release Friday from the Jamestown S’Klallam Tribe.

The state forensic pathologist determined the remains were between 500 and 1,000 years old.

“DAHP and Tribes are continuing to monitor the situation as repairs are completed,” according to the press release.

A man and his son found a skull, mandible and scapula Jan. 14, a person walking the beach found a hip bone Jan. 18, and state officials investigating the site found an undisclosed number of bones Wednesday, according to earlier reports.

Matt Kiddle, 31, of Port Angeles, and his son, Ivan, 4, found remains on Jan. 14 and reported them to the Clallam County Sheriff’s Office.

Kiddle, a physician assistant, said Friday they were riding their bikes along the trail at about 3 p.m. — just as snow was beginning to fall in a storm that dumped some 18 inches on Port Angeles — to examine beach erosion when they stopped.

They immediately saw the adult-size skull and mandible.

“We hopped onto the beach and there it was; it was just right on the beach,” Kiddle recalled.

“I would say it was definitely an adult size skull. The teeth were mature.”

Kiddle said a scapula, or shoulder blade, that appeared to have been a child’s was nearby.

Kiddle said he picked up the dark brown skull and mandible, which “keyed in perfectly” together, moved them off the beach so they would not wash into Port Angeles Harbor, and called authorities.

“Frankly, my first reaction was, what poor individual is missing that I just found their bones, then I quickly realized they were very old and likely Native American, and some form of ancient individual.”

Those remains were sent to DAHP for examination, according to a Sheriff’s Office report.

City and Clallam County public works crews last week were repairing portions of beachfront embankment along the trail east of downtown Port Angeles that have sloughed off due to erosion as part of a $50,000 project.

They were covering exposed areas where the bones were found with fabric and riprap.

Discovered in the open in the same general beach area, the remains will be repatriated to tribal members.

Lower Elwha Klallam and Jamestown S’Klallam archaeology and historic preservation officials were at the site last week.

State and tribal officials did not return calls for comment about the discoveries Thursday and Friday.

Frances Charles, chair of the Lower Elwha Klallam Tribe, said Friday she did not want to comment until more is known about the find.

________

Senior Staff Writer Paul Gottlieb can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 55650, or at pgottlieb@ peninsuladailynews.com.

More in News

A vehicle inches its way down a hill in the 100 block of South Liberty Street in Port Angeles after snow coated much of the North Olympic Peninsula on Thursday morning. Unsettled weather and chilly conditions are forecast into next week. (Keith Thorpe/Peninsula Daily News)
Snow totals modest, spotty on most of Peninsula

Driving dangerous in some areas

Tyler Gage photographs a fire engine while Adam DeFilippo finishes decorating the old fire engine in preparation for two Operation Candy Cane programs in Port Angeles. (Dave Logan/for Peninsula Daily News)
Operation Candy Cane launched by firefighters

Two departments gathering donations in Port Angeles; Sequim starts Monday

Clean Fuel Standard and Climate Commitment Act set to launch Jan. 1

Regulations intended to meet emissions goals

Raccoon Lodge gets options for preservation

Artist has until Dec. 30 to decide piece’s future

Fire District 3 to add battalion chiefs, firefighters

Officials mulling levy lid lift in 2023

KEITH THORPE/PENINSULA DAILY NEWS
U.S. Coast Guard and law enforcement chase boats follow the ferry MV Coho during an armed passenger drill on Tuesday near the mouth of Port Angeles Harbor.
MV Coho part of drill

Two 45-foot response boats and a 29-foot response boat from U.S. Coast… Continue reading

Man airlifted to Harborview following 104 wreck

A Moses Lake man was upgraded from critical to serious… Continue reading

Coast Guard medevacs woman from Forks to Canada

The Coast Guard medically evacuated a 42-year-old woman in critical… Continue reading

Accused murder likely to have lesser charges dropped

Lesser charges filed against an Agnew man accused of… Continue reading

Most Read