Ice Age child's remains discovered in Alaska

The Anchorage Daily NewsFebruary 25, 2011 

Fairbanks researchers say they've uncovered the oldest cremated human remains ever discovered in northern North America at a site near the Tanana River in central Alaska.

The 3-year-old is only the second Ice Age child discovered on the continent, according to the University of Alaska Fairbanks.

Archaeologists discovered the remains in a fire pit in an abandoned living area from 13,200 years ago and dated the child's death to about 11,500 years ago, according to research by UAF's Ben Potter and his team in today's edition of the journal Science.

In one of many interviews Thursday, Potter remembered the find early in the morning of last June 5.

"It was our last day at the site," Potter said by phone from Fairbanks. "That was it for the excavation."

But in a small, 1-meter-square test plot away from the main excavation area, the team started to uncover skeletal fragments and teeth.

"I knew the moment I held the first human remains, identified the tooth, OK, clearly, we knew the age right away, so actually I was thinking of this day that moment, because I knew it was big," Potter said.

To read the complete article, visit

McClatchy Washington Bureau is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

Commenting FAQs | Terms of Service