ROUND ROCK, Texas (AP) — Human bones discovered this week by construction crews in Central Texas are almost certainly ancient remains of Native Americans, according to authorities.
Round Rock Police Cmdr. Alain Babin said an FBI anthropologist saw images of the bones and was "quite certain that they are ancient remains," the Austin American-Statesman reported Friday (http://bit.ly/1imQJy7 ).
Mariah Wade, a University of Texas anthropology professor, said determining the origin of the bones is a "tricky business." And, she added, there "shouldn't be any digging until the right people have been contacted."
Anthropologists from Texas State University were set to go Friday to the wooded area where roads for a new 225-home subdivision are being built. The area is known to locals as a good place to look for arrowheads.
If ancient American Indian remains are found on private land, the landowner must either preserve the site or have a professional, such as a licensed funeral director, a coroner or a professional archaeologist, remove them, according to state law. Remains that have been moved must be reburied in a perpetual care cemetery unless a judge, medical examiner or other official orders otherwise.
John Zinsmeyer, vice president of planning and development for KB Home, the company building the subdivision, said KB Home is willing to "work with authorities to do the right thing, and that is to be determined." Discoveries of Native American remains can delay construction projects.
Wade said that by the appearance of the bones, an anthropologist can determine roughly how long they've been buried. That, and the artifacts found at the burial site, will help determine whether they belong to a Native Americans and, if possible, narrow it down to a particular group.
If that is the case, Wade explained, any present-day members of the tribe should be contacted so the remains can be appropriately handled based on that group's customs.
Central Texas has been home to a number of Native American groups, including the Tonkawa, Apache and Comanche tribes.
Information from: Austin American-Statesman, http://www.statesman.com