Human skull dating back nearly 8,000 years found in Minnesota River

A human skull that's about 8,000 years old was found in the Minnesota River south of Sacred Heart.

The Renville County Sheriff's Office on Wednesday said two kayakers came across the bone in September 2021. The Midwest Medical Examiner's Office determined the bone was human, and the FBI's forensic anthropologist concluded the bone belonged to a young adult man. 

The skull has a depressed area, which is consistent with blunt force trauma, the sheriff's office said. 

Through Carbon-14 analysis, preliminary information indicates the man would have been alive between 5,500-6,000 BCE, so nearly 8,000 years ago. 

"Carbon-14 from the atmosphere via food is incorporated into bones while the bones are maturing. Through reviewing the Carbon-14, this individual would have had a heavy marine diet or a diet high in maize, pearl millet, or sorghum, which is outside the range of the American diet," the sheriff's office noted. 

The sheriff's office called science and technology "incredible," and thanked its partners to help dive into this piece of history.

Sacred Heart is located in western Minnesota, about 114 miles west of Minneapolis.