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 Are human skulls worth anything or legal?

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metallic
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PostPosted: Tue Oct 18, 2011 6:37 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

My uncle does the storage unit auction thing. (He did it before it got popular with that realty TV crap) Anyway he found a human skull inside a box. On it, it says Indian Skull and its addressed to a university.

Is this thing even legal? And yes it is real.
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Cougar
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PostPosted: Tue Oct 18, 2011 6:54 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

Good find, it's nearly halloween. Surprised

Don't know which country you're in, but I would check with your local LEA. It may be that you need to declare it or somesuch thing.

Could be worth getting in touch with the university too, they might still want it!

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Juan Freizwidatt
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PostPosted: Tue Oct 18, 2011 6:57 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

It is illegal for a private individual to own skulls or other skeletal parts in the US. Your uncle should contact the local coroner, and arrangements should be made to find a nearby Indian tribe who will take the skull and rebury it. Many museums and universities are in the process of returning skeletal remains in this manner. They are not legally blocked in every instance, but they they are obliged to inventory and repatriate remains to the maximum extent possible. It's the right thing to do. I know I wouldn't want my great-grandfather's skull sitting in a box or on someone's display shelf. (Or my own, decades from now....)

Read further info here.

EDIT: As for whether it's worth anything, this section gives a blunt answer:

Quote:
"(a) Whoever knowingly sells, purchases, uses for profit, or transports for sale or profit, the human remains of a Native American without the right of possession to those remains as provided in the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act shall be fined in accordance with this title, or imprisoned not more than 12 months, or both, and in the case of a second or subsequent violation, be fined in accordance with this title, or imprisoned not more than 5 years, or both.

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Last edited by Juan Freizwidatt on Tue Oct 18, 2011 8:00 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Cougar
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PostPosted: Tue Oct 18, 2011 7:59 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

Interesting info here:

http://www.boneroom.com/faqs/bones.html

'Indian Skull' could mean Native American or from India - apparently they were a major exporter of human remains until the mid 80's.

Hadn't planned on spending my evening searching the net for human remains!

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Jim Morrison
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PostPosted: Tue Oct 18, 2011 8:01 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

what's the name of that movie where a guy finds native american remains in his yard and then weird shit comes out of the TV?

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PostPosted: Tue Oct 18, 2011 8:05 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

Ugh. I can't fathom wanting to own human remains. It just seems so ghoulish.

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PostPosted: Tue Oct 18, 2011 8:18 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

I have unearthed a human skull before when we were plowing the field. I reburied close to where it turned up. No way I would want a real one in my house!

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PostPosted: Tue Oct 18, 2011 8:49 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

[weird old memory] When I was about 10 or 12 years old I was playing in a ravine next to the local cemetery. A friend and I found a bone sticking out of the ground on the slope. We dug a bit and pulled out a number of bones, and a metal casket handle.... Also plenty of rotted wood. We hopped on our bikes and found the cemetery office and in almost panicky excitement we told them what we'd found. They kicked us out with a "damn kids" comment. Mad We rode back to the site and dug out a complete jaw. Further digging came up with more bones, but it appears someone had already absconded with the skull. We rode back to the office and walked in again, this time holding a jaw. Their reaction was just a little bit different than the first visit. This time a representative followed us back to the site. He was visibly upset when he realized we weren't pranksters. It seems that the ravine was used as a dumping ground for them. Apparently they had inadvertently dug up a very old casket with their backhoe and dumped it with general debris, never realizing it had been a grave.

I never found out anything further, though my parents tried to get more information. It was pretty spooky for a kid of my age. I still wonder how many other skeletons may have been dumped into the ravine.

[/weird old memory]

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PostPosted: Tue Oct 18, 2011 11:09 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

Wow, no stories like that but I was always finding rabbit remains and fox, sheep, and on one occasion a cow skull on the family ranch, Oddest thing I found was a mummified frog - the bones were like rubber all bendy and not fragile at all.
At our school because it was old (1640ish) we had a real skeleton in the biology lab which had died from a headwound - axe or hatchet - something like that.
Strange thing was there was callus arround the wound - this poor chap had possibly walked arround with an axe (or wound) in his head for several weeks whilst his body tried to heel itself maybe going up to people and saying "hello, is this your axe mate? well if you want it back I'll need to charge you storage fees"
We called him Eric, as in Eric Axblood, the last Viking raider on these shores.
These days the schools dont have real ones they just have plastic ones to show.

I quite like the idea of a head as a baiting trophy. Twisted Evil

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PostPosted: Wed Oct 19, 2011 12:17 am Reply with quoteBack to top

A friend of mine found bones in his back garden and called the police as a precaution. The detecives were very interested in the whereabouts of his ex-wife until the lab said they were cow bones....

Many years ago I used to sometimes stay over with some outlaw biker types in Leeds who had a real skull with a candle on top, I never did dare ask where it came from.

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Last edited by Roycropper on Wed Oct 19, 2011 12:17 am; edited 1 time in total
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PostPosted: Wed Oct 19, 2011 12:17 am Reply with quoteBack to top

I would call someone, Native American remains are serious. Remember the movie the Poltergeist? Soon things will start flying across the room, and someone will say “they’re here”.

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PostPosted: Wed Oct 19, 2011 1:31 am Reply with quoteBack to top

Digging up human bones on accident happens every once in a while here in New England. There are a lot of small grave sites and family plots that are forgotten about, and every so often a construction crew will find the remains on accident. The state gets called in and usually the remains get re-interrerd at a local cemetery, or if it's feasable, the construction is moved a short way away.

It's illegal to dig up remains and toss them aside. A construction crew in Massachusetts got in big legal trouble for doing this!!

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PostPosted: Wed Oct 19, 2011 2:07 am Reply with quoteBack to top

My husband found some fossilized whale bones and pieces of Wooly mammoth tusk this past weekend. He sent photos to the "Academy of Science" in San Francisco and they've asked him to bring them in.

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PostPosted: Wed Oct 19, 2011 2:58 am Reply with quoteBack to top

Many years ago when I was 16 I was walking across a ploughed field on my way to fish a local river when I came across what I thought at the time was a human rib bone. You could tell it was very old by it's appearance. I knew there are some Neolithic long barrow burial mounds in the area but many have been flattened by years of agricultural use and invisible nowadays. I sent the bone off to the county museum to see if they were interested. A few weeks they sent the bone back to me with a nice note saying they had analysed the bone and in fact it belonged to an Ox and they dated it's age to about 400 - 500 years old.
Next time I went down the field I reburied it where I found it. It was all quite interesting at the time.

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