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Coming to campus

- January 23, 2006

Coming to Campus is a section announcing visiting speakers of note.

Those who wish to submit items for this section should send a brief description (maximum 300 words) of the event, including the date, time, and place, and giving the name, title, outstanding accomplishments and, if available, a color photo of the speaker to: Visiting Speaker, Advance, 1266 Storrs Road, Storrs, CT 06269-4144 or by e-mail: advance@uconn.edu, with Visiting Speaker in the subject line.

The information must be received by 4 p.m. on Monday, a minimum of two weeks prior to the event.

Publication will depend on space available, and preference will be given to events of interest to a cross-section of the University community.

Forensic archaeologist and paleoecologist James Chatters will give a public lecture on “The Discovery of Kennewick Man and Its Aftermath” on Jan. 28 at 2 p.m., at Smith Middle School, 216 Addison Road, Glastonbury.

The snow date is Jan. 29. Admission is $10 per person; $5 per student.

Kennewick Man, who lived an estimated 9,400 years ago, is one of the oldest and most important human skeletons unearthed in North America.

The discovery may alter conventional views of how, when and by whom the Americas were peopled.

Chatters has written about the discovery, and a decade-long effort to gain access to the remains for scientific study, in his book Ancient Encounters: Kennewick Man and the First Americans.

In 1996, a human skull was found in the Columbia River at Kennewick, Wash. Chatters was invited to help recover the remains from the mud, and he unearthed nearly the complete skeleton now known as “Kennewick Man.”

Almost from the time of the original discovery, there has been controversy over the ownership of the remains. The area where the skeleton was discovered is considered by an Indian tribe to be part of its traditional home. Scientists, including Chatters, protested that a person who lived 9,400 years ago could not be identified with any present-day tribe, and that scientific study should be allowed because ancient skeletons provide information about the past that is unobtainable from other sources.

In 2005, a federal court ruled that scientists could examine the skeleton, and they were allowed to study it for 15 days.

Chatters will describe the loss (and recent rediscovery) of some skeletal parts, efforts to secure and study the skeleton, the decade-long legal battle about ownership of the skeleton, and current issues.

Chatters is senior archaeologist and paleontologist with AMEC Earth and Environmental Inc. in Kirkland, Wash.

The talk is cosponsored by Friends of the Office of State Archaeology and the Connecticut State Museum of Natural History and Archaeology Center at UConn.

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