On August 1, 1999, a poorly preserved metal bucket was recovered from a river in Lancaster, Pennsylvania.Inside the metal bucket was a smaller, white plastic bucket containing a human skull partially embedded in a gray plastic material.The potassium-argon dating method has been used to measure a wide variety of ages.
Its chemical composition indicated that it was similar to the plastic used in kitchen countertops, not commonly sold to the public in the quantity that was used to encase the skull.
The removal of the matrix proved to be quite a challenge.
The disarticulation suggested that the cranium and mandible were most likely skeletonized at the time of their immersion into the liquid plastic.
The plastic itself was potentially an important clue.
However, the coloration of the broken margin of the right zygomatic suggested relatively recent fracture.