Lewis & Clark County

Sep 27, 2013 2:45 PM by Melissa Anderson

Bones found near Silver City identified as Native American woman

HELENA - Human bones unearthed earlier this month on a ranch near Silver City have been identified as that of a Native American woman.

The bones were found by owners of the ranch who were digging underground to use for fill dirt.

At the time, Lewis & Clark County Coroner Mickey Nelson said the bones appeared to be human and sent them off to the State Crime Lab in Missoula for verification.

He was right when he said the bones were more than likely more than 100 years old.

Nelson explained, "It was a female, Native American, probably mid-30's or so, yet to really be determined on that, but we will be able to determine it much better. But definitely nothing recent, it is none of the people that have recently disappeared."

Nelson said the state Burial Preservation Board has been contacted and they will be following up with the Indian tribes to determine which tribe will take ownership of the bones.

According to the Burial Preservation Board website: "The purpose of the Burial Preservation Board is to protect from disturbance skeletal remains found throughout the state and to seek the repatriation of remains and funerary objects improperly taken from unprotected burial sites."