Contextual issues in Paleoindian repatriation: Spirit Cave Man as a case study

Heather J.H. Edgar, Edward A. Jolie, Joseph F. Powell, Joe E. Watkins

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


Judge John Jelderks found that Kennewick Man cannot be defined as Native American under the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act. A recent amicus brief in the legal case regarding repatriation of materials from Spirit Cave, Nevada, suggests that the Kennewick case should be used as legal precedent, and that the remains of Spirit Cave Man are also not Native American. We suggest that a precedent in cases of Paleoindian human remains is inappropriate and unnecessary. We provide bioarchaeological, human variation, archaeological, social, and cultural contexts of the Spirit Cave Man remains. These contexts indicate that this case, and likely all of the few Paleoindian cases, is unique. Determinations of repatriation of Paleoindians should be handled on a case-by-case basis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)101-122
Number of pages22
JournalJournal of Social Archaeology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 2007
Externally publishedYes


  • Anthropological context
  • Kennewick
  • Paleoindians
  • Repatriation
  • Spirit Cave 65

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Archaeology


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