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Archaeologists keep digging where potentially 2,000-year-old mummy was found

Forensic anthropologist Stephen P. Nawrocki looks for clues as investigators seek to identify bones at an excavation site in 2011 in Hammond. He helped determine a mummy found at a quarry in south Lake County was at least 75 years old.

EAGLE CREEK TOWNSHIP | Archaeologists are continuing to search the site of a proposed stone quarry in south Lake County where they found a mummy that could be 2,000 years old.

They have secured the mummified human remains and kept them in place while continuing work around them at the construction site, according to the Indiana Department of Natural Resources

Archaeologists employed by Cardno Environmental Consultation Co. found the mummy Friday while doing preliminary digging at the site of the planned Singleton Stone quarry at 18900 Clay St. The 600-acre site is just south of Ind. 2 in unincorporated Eagle Creek Township, about halfway between Lowell and Hebron.

Rieth-Riley Construction wants to mine there for a concrete aggregate that's used to build roads. Archaeological work is required for a construction permit as a precaution to ensure human remains or other artifacts don't get disturbed.

The archaeologists found potentially ancient human remains that could be between 500 years old and 2,000 years old, suggesting it might be an ancient Native American burial ground, Lake County Sheriff John Buncich said.

Forensics experts from the University of Indianapolis determined the human remains are at least 75 years old, so it's an archaeological site and not a modern crime scene, according to the Department of Natural Resources.

The DNR Division of Historic Preservation & Archaeology and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers office in Chicago, which is the federal permitting agency for the site, are working to determine the next steps. What they do will depend on the nature of the archaeological findings.

"There are more questions than answers at this point," Department of Natural Resources spokesman Marty Benson said. "The answers depend on what is found and the results of the archaeological investigation. There are no typical cases."

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Joseph S. Pete is a Lisagor Award-winning business reporter who covers steel, industry, unions, the ports, retail, banking and more. The Indiana University grad has been with The Times since 2013 and blogs about craft beer, culture and the military.