GETTYSBURG (AP) — Experts say a skull nearly auctioned off as that of a Civil War soldier killed at Gettysburg is actually more than 700 years old and from the Southwestern U.S.
The National Parks Service said Friday that forensic anthropologists determined the skull is from the late 1200s and belonged to a Native American man in his early-to-mid 20s.
A company that nearly auctioned the skull last year said notarized documents showed it was discovered on a Gettysburg farm.
The skull made headlines last year when it was saved from the auction block by public outrage.
It was due for a soldier’s burial once it had been checked by the Smithsonian’s experts.
But the moment veteran anthropologist Douglas Owsley set eyes on it, he knew it wasn’t as advertised.
It wasn’t from Gettysburg. And it didn’t date from 1863, the year of the battle.
The “Gettysburg skull” was that of a young Native American man who lived about 700 years ago, 2,000 miles away in Arizona or New Mexico.
“The case is suspended, pending further information,” but it’s not closed, said Ed Clark, superintendent at Gettysburg National Military Park. “There’s a lot of questions unanswered. . . . How it got to Pennsylvania is not something we know.”
The story began last year when a Pennsylvania auctioneer named Tom Taylor placed the skull, along with several other supposed Civil War artifacts, in an auction that was to take place in June in a hotel in Hagerstown.
Gettysburg National Military Park’s Katie Lawhon says law enforcement is investigating circumstances of the confusion over the skull’s origin.
The Parks Service says it’s still deciding what to do with the remains.