The state archeologist has determined a jawbone found in a remote area of the Iowa River belonged to a prehistoric man.
Someone on the Marshall County Conservation Staff discovered the bone in early August while conducting a wildlife survey. The jawbone, which is the strongest bone on the human face, was sent to the State Medical Examiners Office. It was confirmed to be human, but with no modern significance.
The bone was transferred to the Office of the State Archaeologist at the University of Iowa. According to a news release from the Marshall County Sheriff’s Office, experts have determined the bone likely belonged to a prehistoric Native American adult male.
The Iowa Archeology director says testing will be done to try to trace the bone to one of 26 tribes that lived in Iowa before Europeans settled in the area. If an ancestry link is found to a tribe, the bone will be returned over for burial. If not, it will be housed in the Office of the State Archeologist, a repository for bones that are 150 years old or older.
News release from Marshall County Sheriff’s Office:
UPDATE-Marshall County Sheriff’s Office Investigating Possible Human Remains Located in Iowa River
September 21, 2022 at 3:10 pm
On August 10th, 2022 Marshall County Conservation staff directed Deputies to a remote area in the river where a possible human lower jawbone was discovered by conservation staff while conducting a biological and wildlife survey. The jawbone was intact, but the condition was deteriorated indicating the jawbone was several years old. A search of the area was conducted where three additional potential human bones were located.
Marshall County Medical Examiner was contacted to collect the suspected human remains which were sent to the Iowa State Medical Examiner’s Office for further testing.
The Marshall County Sheriff’s Office received information from the State Medical Examiner’s Office the mandible was confirmed as human with no modern medical significance. The remaining bones were determined non-human.
The mandible was transferred to the Office of the State Archaeologist, University of Iowa for further examination. The mandible was determined likely to belong to a prehistoric Native American, middle to older age male. Additional historical research is expected.
The Marshall County, Iowa Sheriff’s Office is led by Sheriff Joel Phillips and is committed to keeping communities and neighborhoods safe in Marshall County.