DNR reports Columbus construction unearthed 2K-year-old Native American bones


File photo of University of Indianapolis campus

COLUMBUS, Ind. — Archaeologists from the University of Indianapolis are examining unearthed bones they believe are at least 2 millennia old discovered in Columbus, Indiana.

The Indiana Department of Natural Resources (DNR) confirmed Tuesday the finding of human remains at the Court Services Center construction site.

According to DNR, the bones are of an adult male, a preteen and an infant. Based on several factors, the archaeologists determined the bones are 2,000 to 3,000 years old.

A spokesperson for DNR said Wednesday they are believed to be the remains of Native Americans of the Adena culture which existed in the Ohio River Valley as far back as 1000 B.C.E. 

The Adena culture is collectively part of a civilization commonly referred to as the Mound Builders in the Great Lakes, Mississippi River and Ohio River Valley areas who were known to construct large earthen mounds used in religious and burial purposes, among others.

DNR also explained there were two “layers” of discoveries in the dig. One settlement was found around two feet down which consisted of artifacts like glass and nails estimated to be from the late 1800s or early 1900s.

The bones were found at a deeper level, around five to six feet deep. These Native remains were sent to the University of Indianapolis for a continuing analysis.

“The DNR would like to thank the City of Columbus, UIndy, and tribal partners for working together swiftly and effectively to take care of this unexpected situation,” a representative for the Indiana DNR’s Division of Historic Preservation and Archaeology.

The center is still set for completion in April 2022, but a Bioarchaeology Monitor is in place to monitor any future excavation in the area.

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