Online Supplement to Museum Anthropology, the Journal of the Council for Museum Anthropology, a section of the American Anthropological Association
Wednesday, May 28, 2014
Federal Government To Investigate Handling of Ancient Remains in Iowa
Ryan Foley, Associated Press for the San Francisco Gate
May 27, 2014
A retired superintendent of Effigy Mounds National Monument is facing a federal investigation three years after making a startling disclosure: He had a box of long-missing ancient Native American remains in his garage.
The investigation is separate from a recent scandal involving another former superintendent who oversaw $3 million in illegal construction projects at the 2,526-acre site in northeastern Iowa's wooded hills along the Mississippi River. But it has become another headache for the National Park Service, which operates the property that features 200 Native American burial and ceremonial mounds, some of which are shaped like animals.
The case started in 2011 when former superintendent Tom Munson acknowledged that he had a box filled with prehistoric bones in the garage of his Prairie du Chien, Wisconsin, home and returned them to the monument. Those artifacts, including fragments of jaws and leg bones between 1,000 and 2,000 years old, had been housed in the museum's collection after they were found at the site in the 1950s. The revelation of their whereabouts outraged some representatives of the 12 tribes who are affiliated with the monument and consider the site sacred.