Re: 9,000-Year-Old Caucasian Found in Seattle!

Timothy Perper (
Fri, 20 Sep 1996 09:26:02 -0500

In article <>,
(Paul Myers) wrote:

> In article <>, (Susan S.
> Chin) wrote:
> > Ted Rosen ( wrote:
> > : Excuse me for failing to produce newspaper accounts of this
event, but
> > : it seems there's some debate about an ancient skull found in Kendall
> > : Park in King County, Washington.
> > : Workers were digging in the area and unearthed the skull, which was
> > : ferried off to UW for analysis. The scientists in question (sorry, no
> > : names yet) pegged this ancient skull as being undoubtedly caucasian. I
> > : believe he made this determination by involving some of the well-known
> > : tests for skull size/diameter and dentition.
> > : Other researchers felt the skull was unusual for the known
dwellers of
> > : the ancient Northwest, notably ancient members of the quasi-mongoloid
> > : Iriquios.
> Iriquois? In the Pacific Northwest? That's doubtful right there. And for
> any legitimate researcher to use the term "quasi-mongoloid" is sinking even
> deeper into doubtfulness.
> > : As you might expect, armchair Euro-buffs immediately began to
cite the
> > : possibility of sea-faring Europeans finding themselves hopelessly
> > : marooned among the ancient tributaries and maze-like features of the
> > : ancient Puget Sound.
> Now we're really getting silly. Norsemen who somehow sailed around Cape Horn
> (or did they take the other route, around the Cape of Good Hope and across
> the Pacific?) who then stumbled into one little fjord and got lost? And
> Puget Sound isn't _that_ convoluted.
> > : On one talk show, Norsemen were cited as the possible explorers and
> > : the C-14 dating methods questioned. Never mind that the Erickson's
> > : adventures took place circa 1000 BP; the scientists must be wrong.
> > : As an amateur anthropologist, I'm intrigued, but convinced that the
> > : skull is not caucasian. I'm led to understand that subtleties in form
> > : are determined by averaging large numbers of specimens to forge a
> > : framework for classification. And we all know that not all whites have
> > : sharp noses and not all ancient American Indians had flat teeth.
> > : If anyone has any news inre this story, I'd love to hear it. In the
> > : meantime, I'll cull the local rags for more info.
> >
> > : - TR
> >
> > Yes, I was very skeptical myself after reading about this in this
> > newsgroup last week.
> >
> > The key here is VARIATION. Humans within a race vary in morphology just
> > as humans across races do. I wouldn't be so quick to call this a white guy,
> > er Caucasian male. What characters did they use to determine it was male
> > anyway? Let alone that the individual was of European ancestry?
> >
> Well, I think the morphological characters that can be used to determine
> race are relatively reliable (but of course not 100% certain)...I'd be more
> inclined to suspect that the dating is bogus, and that this skull is
> of a contemporary individual of European ancestry, of which there are plenty
> of examples roaming around Washington state.
> --
> Paul Myers Department of Biology
> Temple University
> Philadelphia, PA 19122

True, many individuals of European ancestry can be found in Seattle, but
9000 years old? It's amazing to think about -- "9,000-Year-Old Caucasian
Found in Seattle!" -- the title, I mean. Where does this old coot live?
Now, if you'd said New York, then I'd have doubts, because no 9000 year
old could survive New York for that long -- oh, maybe I'd accept 600 years
old, but not 9000. I guess Seattle is just a nice place to live. We've
got a new slogan for the city they say is one of America's nicest places:
"Come to Seattle and Retire!" But maybe this aged person is really
Bigfoot, and it decided to give the big city a whirl. I suppose the 9000
year old is related to the one they found in the the refrigerator.

All right, I'll get serious. Like Bigfoot, this 9000 year old personage
is another way of hoping and yearning for violations of everyday life.
Both are windows into a kind of dreamtime of our own, distorted and
incomplete, but the yearning is still there... sad and yet touching.
Urban folklore.

Timothy Perper