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Their Skeletons Speak: Kennewick Man and the Paleoamerican World


Series
Exceptional Science Titles for Intermediate Grades

by
Sally M. Walker ,Douglas W. Owsley

Edition
Library edition
Publisher
Lerner
Imprint
Carolrhoda
ISBN
9780761374572

Awards and Honors
SLJ Best Children’s Books 2012, Nonfiction; NCSS Notable Social Studies Trade Books for Young People 2013, Geography/People/Places
POTENTIALLY SENSITIVE AREAS
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The bones of 9,000-year-old Kennewick Man and three other Paleoamerican skeletons help scientists piece together the story of how people first came to North America. List of study teams. Source notes. Selected bibliography. Further reading. Index. Black-and-white and full-color maps, diagrams, and photographs.

POTENTIALLY SENSITIVE AREAS
None

Details

Format

Print

Page Count

96

Trim Size

8 3/8" x 10 1/2"

Dewey

970.01/1

AR

8.7: points 6

Lexile

1140L

Genre

Nonfic

Scholastic Reading Counts

10

JLG Release

Dec 2012

Book Genres


Topics

Kennewick Man. Human remains. Archaeology. Washington State. Paleo-Indians. Anthropometry. Indians of North America. Antiquities.

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Praise & Reviews

Starred or favorable reviews have been received from these periodicals:

Booklist, The Horn Book Magazine, School Library Journal*

School Library Journal

[STARRED REVIEW]
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

Horn Book

Walker and Owsley present a superbly written and documented account of Kennewick Man, a Paleoamerican whose nearly ten-thousand-year-old remains were found on the banks of the Columbia River in Washington State. The story begins with the thrill and pacing of a crime drama, as the 1996 discovery of a skull in the water turns from a modern forensic mystery into a critical anthropological find. There’s even a complicated legal element, as kinship with Kennewick Man was claimed by several Native American tribes calling for adherence to a 1990 law that mandates respectful treatment of ancestral remains. A lawsuit brought by scientists was decided in their favor through reliance on emerging scientific theories about the arrival of the first humans in the Americas approximately fourteen thousand years ago (who may or may not be directly related to the specific Native groups in the lawsuit). Walker and Owsley (one of the anthropologists involved in both the research and the legal case) build the narrative clue by clue, first in determination of the find’s importance, then through a richly detailed portrait of the practice of anthropology. Accompanied by excellent color photographs of the actual evidence and technologies used to generate knowledge about Kennewick Man, the authors show just how much can be learned from a collection of bones and the important ways that each find contributes to our understandings of prehistory. (See also books by Berger and Aronson and by Deem in this section.) danielle j. ford

Praise & Reviews

School Library Journal

[STARRED REVIEW]
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

Horn Book

Walker and Owsley present a superbly written and documented account of Kennewick Man, a Paleoamerican whose nearly ten-thousand-year-old remains were found on the banks of the Columbia River in Washington State. The story begins with the thrill and pacing of a crime drama, as the 1996 discovery of a skull in the water turns from a modern forensic mystery into a critical anthropological find. There’s even a complicated legal element, as kinship with Kennewick Man was claimed by several Native American tribes calling for adherence to a 1990 law that mandates respectful treatment of ancestral remains. A lawsuit brought by scientists was decided in their favor through reliance on emerging scientific theories about the arrival of the first humans in the Americas approximately fourteen thousand years ago (who may or may not be directly related to the specific Native groups in the lawsuit). Walker and Owsley (one of the anthropologists involved in both the research and the legal case) build the narrative clue by clue, first in determination of the find’s importance, then through a richly detailed portrait of the practice of anthropology. Accompanied by excellent color photographs of the actual evidence and technologies used to generate knowledge about Kennewick Man, the authors show just how much can be learned from a collection of bones and the important ways that each find contributes to our understandings of prehistory. (See also books by Berger and Aronson and by Deem in this section.) danielle j. ford

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