An ad hoc committee - including members from the Buffalo Historical Society, the United Methodist Church, American Electric Power, the Native American History Council, and the WV State Historic Preservation Office - is investigating the feasibility of burying these ancient human remains at or near the village, and building a museum or educational center nearby. The committee has garnered financial support from the land owner, American Electric Power, and both the West Virginia and national conferences of the United Methodist Church.
Actually, Buffalo is a good example of the need to preserve ancient human remains in a proper place. The original analysis was done in the late 1960s, and was far from comprehensive, even for the times. By modern standards, the analysis is hopelessly incomplete and outdated. Technologies are available now that yield entirely new types of information, most notably DNA sequencing, trace isotope identification, and vastly improved computing power for statistical analysis. There is every reason to believe that coming decades will bring even greater advances. A Council member addresses the general case for curation of human remains in another section of our web site.
Read this series of articles with a critical eye. The author is a strong advocate
for burying the Buffalo village population. The series presents the emotional
appeals of a small number of committed individuals. We reproduce it because
it is a well-meaning piece that, while widely distributed, is likely to disappear
from any readily available source.
Take particular note:
The author states that no archaeologists interviewed for his series objected to burying the Buffalo population. This is true only because he cast a small and highly selective net in his research -- a member of the Native American History Council, major advocates of burial, and the WV Division of Culture and History, which consistently advocates burial of newly discovered skeletal remains. A fourth named source, Seamus Metress, is the physical anthropologist who studied the remains for his Ph.D. dissertation (c. 1970), but whose main research long ago switched to Ireland.
There are about 40 professional archaeologists in the Council for WV Archaeology, and the author would have discovered a much more representative range of opinion had he contacted just a few, e.g., the Board of Directors, and there are hundreds of other archaeologists working in the Ohio Valley who recognize the Buffalo village as a highly significant site -- the Ohio Archaeological Council is an obvious additional lead.
Part 2 and Part 3.
Metress says he was impressed by the excavation, calling it "a better job than some professionals" and a "meritorious" job, but this assessment is questionable.
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