Archaeologists find prehistoric artifacts at quarry site

The Singleton Stone Quarry site in south Lake County is where archaeologists have studied human remains believed to be a prehistoric American Indian.

LOWELL | The human remains found at the planned excavation site of the Singleton Stone Quarry near Lowell have been reburied in place, and Rieth-Riley is revising its plans to avoid disturbing the site where the remains were found.

Paul Leffler, senior project manager in the regulatory branch of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, said, "We have coordinated with various tribes regarding the prehistoric human remains that were found. They were not mummified, as previously reported. We determined it was not a crime scene right away.

"Based on where it was found and with the artifacts that were found near it, it was decided it was prehistoric, and there is a large range of time that it could be from," Leffler said. "We've not done any other analysis. We have reburied the body in place. All that was found was a skull. When they found that, we stopped the surveys. We didn't look for any other bodies or parts.

He said disturbance of those areas is a primary concern of the tribes.

"This area was proposed to be part of the quarry, but, since this finding, the applicant has redesigned the quarry and we believe they can still do the project without disturbing the area. They have been doing additional surveys in other areas, and, so far, they haven't found anything."

The archaeological research is being handled by Cardno Environmental Consultation Co., an Australian-based environmental company with offices locally. Carol Drager Williams, archaeologist with the Indiana Department of Natural Resources, said archaeological investigations still are being done for the project and reviewed by the corps and the Indiana Department of Natural Resources. She said those investigations are nearly complete.

"The corps' primary duty relates to wetland and waterway issues, and dealing with prehistoric remains is not normal for us," Leffler said. "This is the historic limit of the Kankakee Marsh, so they did expect to find artifacts on the property. Apparently it was a great area to live in a long time ago."

He said the revised plans from Rieth-Riley, which will be digging the quarry and using the stone as aggregate for its concrete, are expected in the next week or so, and then the corps will comment on it. No one from Rieth-Riley could be reached for comment.

The quarry is on a 600-acre site at 18900 Clay St. in Eagle Creek Township.

"From the sound of it, it is something we would approve," Leffler said. "It does seem to be the best outcome for everybody involved."