The ancient remains of a young man and part of his bow have been discovered near Warm Springs campground. 

Officials have yet to date the jawbone, ribs and other bone fragments but say they are

historic. “It’s not somebody modern day,” said Walter Kemp, pathologist at the state crime lab in Missoula.

The remains have been turned over to state archeologist Stan Wilmoth with the Montana Historical Society, who suspects they are less than 2,000 years old and from a Native American man.

“An awful lot of different groups would have been in the area,” he said. Those tribes include Shoshone, Salish and Blackfeet.

State officials were called in after a camper spotted the remains about two weeks ago, Anaconda Police Chief Tim Barkell said.

“There were a few other bones protruding from the bank,” Barkell said, along the side of a road near a

campground.

It is the first time remains have been found in that area.

Police called Kemp after recognizing the mandible. The bones and parts of a bow, which was likely buried with the body, were covered with a pile of rocks.

“The detectives did a good job on identifying the burial markers,” Kemp said. “I was very impressed with that.”

The bones’ fate will hinge on whether they were on federal or state land. Authorities visited the site Monday afternoon to determine the exact location where they were recovered. 

If the remains were on federal land, the bones will go to the Deer Lodge National Forest’s archeologist. If they were on state ground, they will be handled by the Montana Burial Preservation Board. The default would be to rebury the unearthed remains in a safer grave near the initial spot.

“We’re just kind of in a holding pattern right now,” Wilmoth said.

Contact Brandt at 406-496-5519 or angela.brandt@mtstandard.com.

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