More remains found at former Native American burial ground

SUN-TIMES MEDIA WIRE - Archaeologists have returned to the site of a sewer project in west suburban Riverside, where more skeletal human remains, believed to be from a former Native American burial ground, were found on Thursday.

The first skeletal remains were found by the construction crew under the 100 block of Bloomingbank Road on Sept. 14, according to Riverside police.

Police determined the remains were human and contacted detectives, police said.

The area is a “well-documented Indian burial ground and skeletal remains have been found in this same general area” in the past, Police Chief Tom Wietzel said when the first remains were found.

He said there was no indication of foul play but police “must conduct the death investigation the same as they would at any other crime scene.

The on-scene medical examiner immediately determined the “recovered bones are old,” Weitzel said.

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers archaeologists were then called in to assess the site. They were called back Thursday when more remains were found.

They will examine the remains to try to determine how long they’ve been in the ground, and if they are “consistent with the Indian burial ground that is known to be in the immediate area.”

Weitzel said police also “recovered other evidence indicating the remains could have been those of settlers; a button recovered was consistent with those on early settler’s clothing as documented in the early 1800’s.”

After the archaeologists are finished, the site will be turned back over to police and the contractors can continue the sewer separation project, police said..

Weitzel advised residents they may see police officers, detectives and evidence technicians in the area for several weeks if more skeletal remains are recovered.

“Police must follow the same process to ensure these are not crime scenes, but early settlers or Native American remains,” he said.

The 100 block of Bloomingbank will remain closed to all traffic “until the burial site and skeletal remains are completely excavated and transported to the medical examiner’s office,” he said.