Ancient Bones Found in Backyard

Boy digs up 1,000-year-old remains

Salt Lake City Human Skull Archaeology News OutsideOnline

An unexpected find for a ninth grader digging a trout pond in his father's backyard.     Photo: Stocktrek Images/Thinkstock

Ali Erturk, a Salt Lake City ninth grader, was in the middle of building a backyard trout pond for his dad when he stumbled upon what he thought was an animal bone. Digging deeper, Erturk ran into another piece of bone, but this time it was clearly a human skull. Local officials have since confirmed that Erturk discovered an archeological site containing 1,000-year-old American Indian remains.

"When I saw it looked like a human skull, then it definitely was a bit creepy. … It kind of stayed in the back of my mind even when I wasn't digging the pond, going to sleep, it was in the back of my mind that it was human remains," Erturk said of his discovery.

The Utah Department of Heritage spent most of Friday at the site, confirming that the bones dated back some 1,000 years and likely belonged to an American Indian from the region.

Erturk stumbled upon the archeological site when he was expanding a section of the pond to make it a bit deeper. He noticed the first bone about six feet below the surface.

American Indian remains aren't uncommon in Utah—groups like the Shoshone and the Utes have lived there for 10,000 years—but private-property findings are always a bonus.

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