A 14-year-old Utah boy found human remains as he was digging a trout pond in his father's backyard in Salt Lake City, and while he feared he'd stumbled on a crime scene, that turned out not to be the case.
Ali Erturk, who started digging his hole in early March, told CBS affiliate KUTV
he "got the shovel and started digging and before I knew it — it got pretty deep."
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Upon making the discovery of the human remains, the father-son duo quickly called the police wondering if they'd just uncovered a crime scene victim or perhaps the remains of an early Utah pioneer.
"It was kind of eerie," said the teen. He added that it definitely "freaked him out."
Lucky for Erturk, the police quickly determined the bones were quite old, and referred the case to the Utah Department of Heritage and Arts, who spent Friday carefully removing the rest of the remains. They determined that the bones were likely those of an American Indian that lived roughly 1,000 years ago.
"Humans have occupied this valley for up to 10,000 years," department spokesman Geoffrey Fattah told The Salt Lake Tribune
. "We do run into situations where progress runs into the ancient past."
He said the department usually gets calls like this five to seven times a year.
After examining the bones with common forensic techniques, the anthropologists will create a report that details things like the person's sex and cultural affiliation for the state's Division of Indian Affairs. That gives tribes the chance to claim the remains and perform any interment rights they deem fit.
The team said the bones mostly likely date back to the Fremont Culture that inhabited Utah and other areas of the Southwest from 700 to 1300 AD.
Erturk told KUTV it was "one hell of a story to tell," and that he hoped to skip school to watch the archeological process play out in his backyard. He's interested in the history, and also said it would be nice to get a little help digging.
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