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Ancient remains of American Indian found in Salt Lake City backyard
Human remains unearthed this week at a Salt Lake City home belonged to an American Indian who lived about 1,000 years ago, medical examiners have found.
A homeowner in northwest Salt Lake City found the bones Wednesday when he attempted to dig a pond as part of a landscaping project.
Specialists from the state Department of Heritage and Arts were removing the remains and investigating the site for archeological data on Friday, said department spokesman Geoffrey Fattah.
"Humans have occupied this valley for up to 10,000 years," Fattah said. "We do run into situations where progress runs into the ancient past."
A forensic anthropologist will analyze the remains to try to determine the person's sex and any signs of cultural affiliation. The report will go to the state Division of Indian Affairs, where tribal representatives will try to determine whether the remains are of their ancestry, Fattah said. A tribe may claim the remains and perform rites and interment.
The western and northwestern areas of the city have occasionally yielded previously forgotten pioneer or even pre-Mormon settlement era Native American graves. The department typically receives five to seven reports of ancient remains statewide each year, Fattah said.