Archeology Students Examine Fossils in Columbiana County

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A handful of YSU students went digging for bones Saturday morning, after being contacted by a Columbiana County family that discovered what appeared to be animal remains in their yard.

Karen and Jeff Biery of Damascus never imagined they’d find animal bones in their yard. The couple discovered the remains while digging a ditch to divert water from around a lake on their property.

“When we were cutting through here, we found the large fema bones sticking out of the hillside on this one side,” said Karen Biery.

They had no idea where the bones could have come from so they contacted YSU’s Anthropology and Archaeology Department.

About seven students came out Saturday for a small dig, led by YSU professor Tom Delvaux.

“As it turned out, a pretty interesting excavation, because the animal wasn’t butchered.  It’s still in one place,” said Delvaux.

“This is my first time digging in actual soil, and first time uncovering bones,” added Ronald Madeline, a recent YSU graduate.

Delvaux said it’s very rare for students to get the opportunity to excavate large animals with all the bones connected.

“It’s been exciting. We just discovered the skull,” said Delvaux.

Within only a few hours of the dig, some made assumptions on what type of animal it was.

“We’re fairly certain we have some sort of cow,” said Delvaux.

“I think they’re going to find out it’s  a buffalo, a couple hundred years old,” added Jeff Biery.

“Everybody would love to have a dinosaur in their backyard. But…” smirked Karen.

However, Delvaux said he isn’t completely ruling out anything that could be prehistoric.

“Could be a mastodon. One was found a few miles from here a number of years ago,” finished Delvaux.

While one group of students worked on uncovering the animal bones, another group sifted through the dirt looking for artifacts.

The professor said it could take weeks to dig out all of the bones and find out what type of animal it was and long it’s been there.

“We’ll collect the bones. We’ll take them to YSU and clean them, identify them and then return them to the property owners,” said Delvaux.



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