Native bones found
Bones found Tuesday along the Feather River north of Yuba City are from a Native American burial site, according to Sutter County Sheriff Jim Denney.
A passerby reported finding the bones, including skulls, about two miles south of Morse Road. The remains of three people were scattered over an area about 5 feet in diameter, according to Denney.
Recent high water eroded the burial site, then receded.
“This happens every time we get high water,” the sheriff said.
There was no immediate estimate of the age of the bones. As a matter of routine, they will be turned over to the Native American Heritage Commission in Sacramento, said Denney.
A forensic pathologist will examine the bones and obtain DNA samples, he said.
Debbie Treadway, an environmental scientist with the commission, said the bones will be given “to the most likely descendants” for reburial.
The commission is satisfied with the way the Sutter County Sheriff's Department has handled this and previous finds, said Treadway.
The small size of the bones and lack of dental work made it clear they were very old, said Denney.
“That was our first suspicion. It was easy to tell they were not recent deaths,” he said.
The exact location of the find is not being released because of past problems with artifact-hunters, he said.
A deputy guarded the site Tuesday night, the sheriff said.
Native Americans often buried their dead near the river in “fairly shallow graves,” said Denney.
The latest site will be charted as previous sites have been, he said.
Appeal-Democrat reporter Rob Young can be reached at 749-4710. You can e-mail him at email@example.com.