School Library Journal
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Gr 8 Up-This detailed study of the discovery and forensic evaluation of the skeleton dubbed "Kennewick Man" puts forensic TV shows to shame. From his accidental discovery in 1996 through multiple examinations by scientists with ever-improving forensic tools and years of unexpected storage due to NAGPRA (Native American Graves Protection and Reparation), an actual human being emerges from a time long gone, speaking to us through his bones. Entering briefly into this long-term investigation are the far more shadowy figures of other Paleoamericans-Spirit Cave Man, Arch Lake Woman, and the Horn Shelter People. Scattered throughout the lucid, readable text are tightly focused informational bits on such topics as CT scans, radiocarbon dating, and NAGPRA practices. Sharp color photos, some nice artwork, and good maps provide clear visuals of the bones themselves, and the features that helped define the man and his life. A final facial reconstruction leaves readers face-to-face with a real person-someone readers would recognize if they met him on the street (we know how tall he was, how much he weighed, that one arm was stronger than the other, etc.). Walker reminds readers that it was not their relics, but living, breathing Paleoamericans who first arrived, settled, lived, and died in the long-gone American past. For those not quite ready for so much detail, try Katherine Kirkpatrick's equally distinguished Mysterious Bones: The Story of the Kennewick Man (Holiday House, 2011). Lucid writing, fine scientific explanations, and attractive bookmaking make this a winner.-Patricia Manning, formerly at Eastchester Public Library, NY (c) Copyright 2012. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.
The discovery came in 1996 when a passerby reached into the Columbia River to pull out a rock. As Walker colorfully puts it, he literally found himself face-to-face with Kennewick Man. The nearly complete 9,400-year-old skeleton has been the focus of both study and controversies ever since. Here Walker and forensic anthropologist Owsley explain the latter (having to do with Native American cultural claims and the skull's distinctly non-Native American features) but devote closer attention to the physical clues presented by the bones' cracks and accretions, patterns of wear on teeth, and other tantalizing but scattered forensic evidence that hints at who Paleoamericans were and how they lived. Along with introducing other North American finds of similar age, such as the Spirit Cave Mummy, the authors show how interpretations of evidence can change or be refined over time and also cover current theories about the migratory origins of the earliest Americans. Enhanced by maps and diagrams as well as photos of discovery sites, remains, and scientists at work, this account imparts a clear sense of how hard and subtle that work is and how exciting, too.--Peters, John Copyright 2010 Booklist