Remains at historic house are likely Alaska Native

SITKA, Alaska — More than two years after they were discovered, old human remains have been exhumed from the basement of the historic building that houses Sitka radio station KCAW.

The bones removed from the Cable House have been identified as Alaska Native and are now in the possession of the Sitka Tribe of Alaska, KCAW reported. The tribe will determine a suitable place to inter the remains.

The remains were exhumed Dec. 20. They were discovered between two slabs of bedrock in October 2011 by contractors working in the basement during a structural improvement project in the century-old building. With the help of an archaeologist, police determined the remains were old and not part of a crime scene.

Materials such as wood or fiber were not found at the scene.

“Those things would be clues as to when the bones were there, and possibly where the bones had come from. But there was none of that,” KCAW General Manager Ken Fate said shortly after the discovery.

The bones remained undisturbed where they were found until they were exhumed and turned over to the tribe.

New information shows the remains are likely Southeast Alaska Native in origin.

Assistant professor Brian Kemp from Washington State University tested mitochondrial DNA in a tooth. He also screened DNA on gender chromosomes, which showed the tooth had belonged to a female.

The remains are believed to be old, likely predating the building. But Kemp does not know how old, and says radiocarbon dating would be required to determine the age of the remains.

Kemp said it’s not possible to trace the bones to a specific population because the DNA sequence is common in Native American lineage.

Photographs of the remains, however, were inspected by Joan Dale, an archaeologist with the Alaska Heritage Resources Survey. Dale assessed the shape of the skull and said the remains are most likely Southeast Alaska Native.

More in Local News

Departing mayor’s locally drawn portrait joins city’s pantheon

Artist Elizabeth Person’s portrait of Everett Mayor Ray Stephanson will hang with others at City Hall.

Inslee proposes tapping reserves, carbon tax in budget plan

The proposal also includes money for the mental health system and efforts to fight opioid addiction.

One dead in crash south of Granite Falls

Two cars collided near the intersection of N. Lake Roesiger Road and Hidden Valley Road.

2 women struck, injured while crossing busy roads

The first happened Wednesday night in Everett. The second was Thursday morning in Edmonds.

Lynnwood robbery leads to lockdown at Edmonds schools

Edmonds police said it was just a precaution as they search around Edmonds-Woodway High School.

Marysville 7-Eleven hit by armed robbers

Officers set up a perimeter and brought in a police dog, but the man couldn’t be found.

Snohomish man, 63, missing from home since Monday

He left without his keys, wallet and phone, saying something about going to “the river.”

Counties fed up with unfunded mandates may sue the state

For example, no money has been provided to install, maintain and clear out required ballot boxes.

Pain lingers decade after recession

No matter how good things are now, it’s impossible to forget how the collapse affected people.

Most Read