FR Doc 04-25923
[Federal Register: November 23, 2004 (Volume 69, Number 225)]
[Notices]               
[Page 68174-68175]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]
[DOCID:fr23no04-80]                         

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DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR

National Park Service

Notice of Inventory Completion: University of Massachusetts, 
Department of Anthropology, Amherst, MA

Agency: National Park Service, Interior.

Action: Notice.

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    Notice is here given in accordance with the Native American Graves 
Protection and Repatriation Act (NAGPRA), 25 U.S.C. 3003, of the 
completion of an inventory of human remains in the possession of the 
University of Massachusetts, Department of Anthropology, Amherst, MA. 
The human remains were removed from the Fort Neck Burying Ground in 
Charlestown, Washington County, RI.
    This notice is published as part of the National Park Service's 
administrative responsibilities under NAGPRA, 25 U.S.C. 3003 (d)(3). 
The determinations within this notice are the sole responsibility of 
the museum, institution, or Federal agency that has control of the 
Native American human remains. The National Park Service is not 
responsible for the determinations within this notice.
    A detailed assessment of the human remains was made by the 
University of Massachusetts, Department of Anthropology professional 
staff in consultation with representatives of the Narragansett Indian 
Tribe of Rhode Island.
    In September of 1912, human remains representing a minimum of eight 
individuals were removed from the Fort Neck Burying Ground, on the 
grounds of the James S. Kenyon estate in Charlestown, RI, by Dr. Harris 
Hawthorne Wilder, his wife Dr. Inez Whipple Wilder, and two assistants. 
No known individuals were identified among the remains excavated. The 
Wilders' field notes indicate that there were wooden and metal coffin 
fragments, small cloth fragments, and shroud pins associated with some 
of the burials, but there is no indication that these items were 
collected with the burials. The University of Massachusetts is not in 
possession of either associated or unassociated funerary objects from 
these burials.
    The human remains collected from the Fort Neck Burying Ground were 
originally exhibited in the "Smith Anthropological and Zoological 
Museum" at Burton Hall, Smith College, Northampton, MA. Each of the 
individual bones was marked in black Indian ink, with identification 
numbers, letters, and Roman numerals that matched up to the Wilders' 
site map, excavation schedule, and collections storage system; each set 
of human remains was originally numbered 1, 2, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, and 10, 
based on their location in the row. In 1966, Smith College transferred, 
as an extended loan, the human remains from the Fort Neck Burying 
Ground, along with other Native American remains, to the Anthropology 
Department of the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, where they were 
accessioned as part of the "Wilder Collection," and incorporated into 
the existing teaching and research collections. In 1987, the University 
of Massachusetts assigned new accession numbers to the individuals from 
the Fort Neck Burying Ground as follows: 1987-019 (Wilder 1), 
1987-006 (Wilder 2), 1987-015 (Wilder 5), 1987-004 
(Wilder 6), 1987-007 (Wilder 7), 1987-018 (Wilder 
8), 1987-016 (Wilder 9), and 1987-014 (Wilder 
10).
    The location of the Fort Neck Burying Ground was described in a 
1912 newspaper article: "The ancient burial place is beautifully 
located on Fort Neck, near Cross Mills in Charlestown, at the head of 
Powaget, or Charlestown pond. It lies near the old Indian trail, later 
known in Colonial days as the King's or Queen's highway, as chanced to 
be at the time the ruler of England. Later it was called the country 
road, and then again the Post road" (The Sun, Providence, RI, 
September 8, 1912). The Wilders got permission to excavate from the 
owners of the land, heirs of the late James S. Kenyon, and the town 
council of Charlestown. The Wilders' site map of "Fort Neck Burying 
Ground - Charlestown, R.I. Excavation of September 1912" plots the 
location of 10 burials in the one row targeted for study, and at least 
four additional rows. The site had been previously excavated on at 
least two occasions. In 1859, Charlestown citizens collected several 
skeletal elements and artifacts from this and other Narragansett burial 
sites that were apparently sent to Brown University. Dr. Usher Parsons 
of Providence later re-opened this graveyard and other sites to supply 
his own "repository of scientific curiosities" (Wilder Field Notebook 
1, Charlestown, R.I., summer 1912, stored in Wilder Collection 
Series VI: Professional Activities, Box 29, Folder 6, Smith College 
Archives).
    An entry in the Smith College Zoology Department Accession Book 
describes the remains as follows: "Collection of Skeletons from 
Charlestown, R.I. Fort Neck Burying ground. People from Narragansett 
Reservation, buried perhaps between 1750-1840. Ten bodies. Excavated 
1912 by the Wilders. These not accessioned yet. (March 1919)" (Smith 
College Zoology Department Accession Book II, page 29, on file at 
University of Massachusetts, Amherst). The Wilders' field notes 
indicate that two out of the ten graves they selected for excavation 
showed signs of previous disturbance, and the bodies were already 
missing. One empty grave had a marked headstone: "Here lieth ye Body 
of George ye son of Charles Ninigret, King of ye Natives and his wife 
Hannah"; the footstone read: "Ninigret, George. 1731c - 22 Dec 
1732." The Ninigret family is identified as Niantic and Narragansett 
in Narragansett tribal genealogical records. No materials were removed 
from the two empty graves by the Wilders. The University of 
Massachusetts is now in possession of eight sets of human remains from 
the Fort Neck Burying

[[Page 68175]]

Ground, none of which have been identified by name.
    Based on Narragansett Indian tribal written and oral histories; 
colonial, local, and regional historic documentation; documents in the 
Wilder Collection at the University of Massachusetts and the Smith 
College Archives; Dr. Wilder's reconstruction of genealogical 
information for the Narragansett peoples based on ethnographic 
interviews at the time of excavation; Narragansett Indian tribal 
genealogical records; geography; and proximity of the cemetery to the 
Narragansett Indian Tribal Reservation, it has been determined that the 
human remains described in this notice are affiliated with the 
Narragansett Indian Tribe of Rhode Island.
    Officials of the University of Massachusetts, Department of 
Anthropology have determined that, pursuant to 25 U.S.C. 3001 (9-10), 
the human remains described above represent the physical remains of 
eight individuals of Native American ancestry. Officials of the 
University of Massachusetts, Department of Anthropology also have 
determined that, pursuant to 25 U.S.C. 3001 (2), there is a 
relationship of shared group identity that can be reasonably traced 
between these Native American human remains and the Narragansett Indian 
Tribe of Rhode Island.
    Representatives of any other Indian tribe that believes itself to 
be culturally affiliated with the human remains should contact Ralph 
Faulkingham, Chair, Department of Anthropology, University of 
Massachusetts, Room 215 Machmer Hall, Amherst, MA 01003, telephone 
(413) 545-0028, before December 23, 2004. Repatriation of the human 
remains to the Narragansett Indian Tribe of Rhode Island may proceed 
after that date if no additional claimants come forward.
    The University of Massachusetts, Department of Anthropology is 
responsible for notifying the Narragansett Indian Tribe of Rhode Island 
that this notice has been published.

    Dated: October 22, 2004
Sherry Hutt,
Manager, National NAGPRA Program.
[FR Doc. 04-25923 Filed 11-22-04; 8:45 am]

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