Unlike Piltdown Man or Nebraska Man, Kennewick Man was the real, hoary deal, and Kirkpatrick here introduces him to young readers.
He was found in remarkable condition near the Columbia River in Washington just 15 years ago, in 1996—one of the oldest and most complete skeletons found in America. Kirkpatrick first addresses the controversy surrounding the treatment of his remains. How to balance the benefits to knowledge the skeleton might reveal while also respecting customs and traditions that are at odds with tampering with ancestral bones? It took nine years in the courtroom before a judge decided Kennewick’s bones could be tested; it was deemed that he was not a direct ancestor of any modern group. The author handles the other side of the story with equally unhurried thoughtfulness: what Kennewick Man tells us about himself. His mysteries are slowly uncovered—what he ate, why there was a spearhead lodged in his hip bone and what about that dent in his forehead, the nature of his landscape and lifestyle. There are plenty of questions left unanswered, like, who was this stranger? Polynesian or Ainnu or Jomon or…? How did he get here? Excellent illustrations accompany the story, with crisp line-drawings of tools, skeletons, maps and possible facial reconstructions.
A thoroughgoing but sprightly biography of a fascinating outlander in our midst. (glossary, timeline, bibliography, notes, index) (Nonfiction. 8-12)