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The Kennewick Man Case | Court Documents | Affidavits & Declarations

Plaintiffs Response to Motion for Extension


Alan L. Schneider, OSB No. 68147
1437 SW Columbia Street, Suite 200
Portland, Oregon 97201
Telephone: (503) 274-8444
Facsimile: (503) 274-8445

Paula A. Barran, OSB No. 80397
520 SW Yamhill Street, Suite 600
Portland, Oregon 97204-1383
Telephone: (503) 228-0500
Facsimile: (503) 274- 1212

Attorneys for Defendant






CV No. 96-1481 JE

AFFIDAVIT OF Thomas W. Stafford, Jr.

I, Thomas Stafford, being first duly sworn, do depose and state as follows:

1. I am the founder and president of Stafford Research Laboratories, INc., Boulder, Colorado (hereafter, "SRL"). Further details of my professional experience and qualifications are contained in affidavits previously filed with the Court. See Plaintiffs' Motion for Order Granting Access to Study the Skeleton (March 11, 1997); Plaintiffs Reply (Motion for Immediate Response) (August 10, 1999).

2. I make this affidavit to document the circumstances pertaining to my decision not to participate in the government's selection and removal of the samples taken from the Kennewick skeleton in September 1999 for radiocarbon dating.

3. During the latter half of August 1999, I had several telephone discussions with National Parks Service personnel, including Dr. Francis McManamon, concerning the protocols that should be followed for dating the skeleton and for obtaining the samples to be dated. Among other things, I was told that because of commitments made to the Court, it was important to the government that the dating process be started no later than September 15, 1999. At no time during these initial discussions, however, was I given a clear request or invitation to assist either in dating the skeleton or in sample selection.

4. At approximately 2:00 pm (Mountain Time) on Friday afternoon, September 3, 1999, I was contacted again by Dr. McManamon. He asked me to participate in the sampling process. He also informed me that sampling would begin on Tuesday or Wednesday, September 7/8, 1999, following the three-day Labor Day weekend, and that arrangements had already been made for the sampling. He stated that the Burke Museum had been notified to hae its facilities available, and that airline reservations had been booked for himself, Dr. Trimble's team and the conservators. He indicated that the government was committed to its schedule and that they would proceed with or without me.

5. I accepted to offer to participate i sampling of the skeleton. I agreed to do so on the expectation that the samples would be selected and removed in a manner consistent with the advice provided by Dr. R. E. Taylor and myself in our August 1999 affidavits. See exhibits to Plaintiffs' Reply (Motion for Immediate Response). Among the various procedures we recommended, my affidavit stated that two chemical tests (i.e., a carbon-hydrogen-nitrogen analysis and a quantitative amino acid analysis) should be performed on different elements of the skeleton to determine the suitability of the bone for radiocarbon dating. These tests would have required only a few milligrams of bone and would have determined whether a particular bone contained sufficient intact proteins to permit reliable dating, and if so, how much of the bone was actually needed for dating. See Stafford Affidavit, Paragraphs 8A and 8B. In addition, both Dr. Taylor and I stated that the sample selection team should included experienced scientists familiar with all of the different types of studies and tests required for multidisciplinary assessment of ancient skeletal remains. See Taylor Affidavit, Paragraph 8H; Stafford Affidavit, paragraph 6B. I considered the participation of such a specialist to be essential in order to minimize the risks of selecting a bone that might be needed for other purposes.

6. To make sure there was no misunderstanding abou the procedures that should be followed for sampling the skeleton, on the next day (i.e., September 4, 1999) I faxed to Dr. McManamon the letter attached hereto as Attachment A. some of the points made in that letter were:

(a) The sample selection team should include one or more research-level physical anthropologists familiar with metrics, taphonomy, and skeletal analyses.

(b) The team should also include a radiocarbon dating specialist and a biochemist familiar with DNA sampling from human remains.

(c) Chemical tests should be conducted on the bone before any dating samples were removed from the skeleton.

(d) All samples should be taken from a single skeletal element.

7. I never received a direct response to my September 4, 1999 letter. Instead, on the afternoon of September 5, 1999, I was faxed a document entitled "DRAFT/Procedures for Radiocarbon Dating Bone Samples from the Human Remains Inadvertently Discovered at Columbia Park, Kennewick, Washington". A copy is attached hereto as Appendix B. kThis was the first time I had seen that document. The procedures described in it indicated that my recommendations and those of Dr. Taylor would not be followed. Accordingly, I prepared a letter to Dr. McManamon informing him that I was declining his invitation to attend the government's proposed bone sampling session. See Attachment C. I also cautioned Dr. McManamon that if the procedures recommended by Dr. Taylor and myself were not followed "...there is a substantial risk that more bone material will be used than is necessary, and that this bone's removal will jeopardize a host of other studies yet to be completed on the skeleton." Copies were faxed to both Dr. McManamon's office and his home.

8. In its Tenth Quarterly Status Report to the Court, the government claims that it selected the tibial crest for sampling on the basis of recommendations received from a number of experts (including myself). See Status Report at page 4. This claim does not accurately reflect my recommendations. I specifically advised the government that if the sample were to be taken from a long bone, it should be obtained from the diaphysis which contains mostly dense cortical bone material. As noted above, I also advised the government to conduct chemical tests before any samples were removed for radiocarbon dating. Had such tests been conducted as I recommended, they would have identified those bones that were not suitable for radiocarbon dating because of their low protein content or non-collagenous amino acid composition. As a result, their use would have avoided needless destruction of the skeleton.

9. These test also would have helped determine which elements of the Kennewick skeleton are potentially suitable candidates for DNA testing. Amino acid analyses provide good proxy information for assessing the prospects of DNA preservation. As a result, if these tests had been conducted before the radiocarbon dating samples were obtained, it would now be known which bones (if any) of the skeleton are suitable for DNA testing and the appropriate samples could be selected without further delay.

DATED this 4th day of February, 2000.

Thomas W. Stafford, Jr.

SUBSCRIBED and SWORN to before me this 4th day of February, 2000.
Shirley M. Hickman
Notary Public for Colorado
My Commission Expires: 08/20/2003

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