I’m not really sure which is worse, digging up the bones or buying the bones. An Ohio man last week pleaded guilty to purchasing First Nation remains that had been unearthed from a rock shelter, shallow caves dug into the sides of cliffs. A witness described the excavation as large enough to hold a Volkswagen.

Also of interest in the case was the use of cradle boarding marks on the remains to help identify the origin, possibly referring to artificial deformations of the skull caused by use of this child carrier.

Here’s the FBI release:

Man pleads to purchasing Native American remains
Aug. 5, 2015

COLUMBUS, OH—Mark M. Beatty, 56, of Wellston, Ohio, pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court to violating the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act by purchasing human remains of Native Americans. The case is the first criminal enforcement of the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act in the Southern District of Ohio.

According to court documents, individuals were observed digging in a rock shelter in Salt Creek Valley in Jackson County, Ohio. When they were approached, they ran off into the woods and left behind shovels, dirt sifters, buckets and trash. Investigators confirmed that at least two individuals were digging on the property and had dug up human remains. Beatty admitted to purchasing those remains.

An anthropologist confirmed that the human remains were consistent with Native Americans, specifically identifiable by cradle boarding, a cultural activity used only by Native American Indians in North America. The identity of the remains was also confirmed by an archeologist, who verified that rockshelters were used extensively for burials in Southern Ohio and specifically in Jackson County.

DNA testing concluded a direct connection to present day Native American Indians living in the United States today.

The parties involved in the case have agreed to a proposed sentence of three years of probation including three months home confinement, a $3,500 fine and restitution in the amount of $1,000 to the Miami Tribe of Oklahoma, to be used for re-burial of the Native American remains. The remains will be transferred to the federally recognized tribes who have assisted with this case, and re-buried in Ohio at an undisclosed location and in private once all the court proceedings are completed.

Beatty has also agreed to publish an advertisement in a circulation warning others not to engage in illegal excavation of Native American bones and artifacts. As part of his plea, he has agreed to perform 100 hours of community service for a program that protects or promotes the interests of Native Americans.

 

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