The 81st Annual Meeting of the American Association of Physical Anthropologists (2012)


Back from the dead: an osteobiography of a depression era miner from central Nevada

DIANA L. SPENCER1, ROBERT MCQUEEN2, PENNY SIIG3 and G. RICHARD SCOTT1.

1Anthropology, University of Nevada - Reno, 2CRM, Summit Envirosolutions, Reno NV, 3Facial Reconstruction, PSI Studios, Reno NV

Thursday All day, Plaza Level Add to calendar

In 2010, an excavation in central Nevada thought to be a privy turned up a human burial instead. Based on features of the cranium and pelvis, the individual was classified as male. Although edentulous, the innominate suggested an age of early 40s. FORDISC results were equivocal, suggesting white, Japanese, or Egyptian. A small hole (.272 mm.) on the right temporal counter-balanced by an exit wound on the left parietal was considered the likely cause of death. aDNA analysis shows the individual was K haplogroup with HVI polymorphisms at 16224(T), 16311(C), and 16320(T), consistent with European or Middle East ancestry. After sleuthing records in central Nevada, the death certificate of this ‘unknown miner’ was found. It provided a name (Floyd), birthplace (Illinois), birthdate (11/7/1893, age 44 y, 8 m), and noted ‘suicide – bullet in head.’ Not only were methods validated but the skull was subject to rapid prototyping at the Berkeley Lawrence laboratories for a complete three-dimensional reconstruction. Floyd, who endured a hard scrabble existence and ended his life by suicide, now enjoys fame in death that eluded him in life.

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