updated 12/1/2006 6:39:20 PM ET 2006-12-01T23:39:20

Archaeologists surveying a property earmarked for a Long Island housing development discovered an ancient skull.

The Suffolk County medical examiner's office on Thursday determined that the skull was that of an American Indian dating back 1,000 to 3,000 years.

The skull, which was unearthed Wednesday, has been turned over to the Shinnecock Indian Nation in Southampton for reburial, the Town of Southampton police said.

The town requires archaeologists to study land for American Indian artifacts before development can begin because of the centuries-old history of the Shinnecock tribe on the shores of Eastern Long Island.

There are 1,300 members of the Shinnecock Nation, 600 of whom live on a 1,200-acre reservation adjacent to the Town of Southampton. A spokesman didn't immediately return a telephone message Friday.

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