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Bones Could Shed Light into Region's Past

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Posted: Feb 15, 2013 6:29 PM

Updated: Feb 18, 2013 8:39 AM

HIDALGO COUNTY - An archeological discovery at a construction site in Pharr could have a big impact in the region, local historians said.

Officials with the Museum of South Texas History said they hope the find will help decode more of the region's past.

"The prehistory here in some ways is not as detailed as other parts of the country," MSTH Registrar and Curator Lisa Adam said.

The museum has exhibits dedicated to the Spanish and European settlements in the Rio Grande Valley. Only a small foyer gives information on the indigenous inhabitants of the region.

Adam said there are few details and even fewer artifacts dating back to the indigenous people of the region.

She said the lack of artifacts - like pottery, jewelry and weapons - have kept people in the dark about the region's past.

"It's somewhat scarce because of the climate and the soils. It's unusual to find archaeological material in terms of bones," Adam said.

She said Monday's find is rare because of the long history of agriculture in the region. The constant turning of the soil, planting and harvesting may have disturbed even more unknown grave sites.

If the bones found Monday date back 600 years, they would be the remains of a hunter-gatherer - a Paleo-Indian.

If the bones date back some 100 years, the person might have been a member of some of the tribes in the region. Those tribes included the Carrizos, Lipan Apaches and Comanches.

"Some of the raids of the Comanches and Apaches were going all the way down into Mexico," Adam said.

Adam said the find could be significant for many in the area.

"Many of them are starting to re-identify themselves and reclaim their roots and say, ‘Maybe my grandparents hid the fact, but our family has known that we are Native American or part Native American,'" Adam said.

She said more discoveries could be made if an archeological team is allowed onto the property to finish the research.

Topics: lisa adam, museum of south texas history, bones, archeology, rio grande valley

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