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Bones found on Warren construction site ID'd

The bones found last month during construction work near a home in Warren have been identified by a UND anthropologist as belonging to an American Indian.

Phoebe Stubblefield, assistant professor of anthropology at UND, examined the skull and a few bones and determined they belonged to an American Indian adult.

The bones are of "no forensic value," Stubblefield said, meaning they have been at the site more than 50 years and could not belong to a victim of known crimes of the past few decades. But she can't yet say how old the bones may be.

The work had to be stopped when a skull and some other bones were found Aug. 18 by construction workers. Because of state laws, if the bones are American Indian, tribes that may have an interest need to be contacted, said Marshall County Sheriff John Novacek.

Three brothers who grew up next to the lot in the 1940s through the 1960s said they often found Indian artifacts, including arrow heads, nearby, along the Snake River.

The condition of the skull and bones, especially the discoloration showing that minerals from the soil had leached into the bones, indicated they were at least 50 years old, experts told Novacek, he said.

The Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension turned the bones over to UND anthropologists to evaluate them. A BCA agent said the skull contained some molar teeth that indicated no modern dental work had been done on the person.

Stubblefield said she is working with Indian tribe officials about possibly doing more recovery work at the site to establish more information about the age of the bones and circumstances leading to their presence.