Skull found in crabpot determined to be 2,300 years old

Remains released to state anthropologist

Scientists have determined that a skull found in a crab pot off the coast two years ago dates back about 2,300 years, Grays Harbor County Coroner Lane Youmans said Tuesday afternoon.

The skull was discovered by fishermen in late February 2014 about three miles offshore and southwest of Grays Harbor and was turned over to the FBI for DNA analysis. A sample of it was sent to Beta Analytics in Miami, Fla. for radiocarbon dating. An earlier report indicated the DNA profile showed that the sample was from a female.

“The lab analyzed the sample and determined it to be approximately 2,300 years old … around 360 to 400 B.C.,” Youmans said. “The remains will be turned over to Dr. Guy Tasa … the Washington State Physical Anthropologist in Olympia … so he can release them to the appropriate tribe.”

Tasa, Youmans said, researches where the remains are found and compares that to the information he has gathered on where various Native American tribes were living so it can be returned to the proper descendents.

Youmans said there have been several other Native American remains recovered over the years from the coastal area, most notably when the Quinault Beach Casino was putting in a sewer line and uncovered a burial site. But none of the finds are as old as the skull found near Westport.

“I was told those remains were 800 to 1,200 years old,” he said.

Additional information on the placement with the appropriate tribe will be released when it becomes available.