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IA Archaeologist Waiting For Casino Site Survey

June 4, 2010, 5:52 PM by Ben Dunsmoor

IA Archaeologist Waiting For Casino Site Survey
LARCHWOOD, IA - The Iowa State Archaeologist has been asked to figure out whether the Lyon County Casino site sits on a burial ground. This week, the state archaeologist received a letter from the Flandreau Santee Sioux Tribe asking him to investigate the site of the casino.

The letter from the Flandreau Tribe asks him to use his authority to investigate the site and take action if any human remains are found. In the letter, the tribe says the Lyon County site is close to the Blood Run National Historic Landmark and Gitchie Manitou State Preserve. The tribe believes there could be 'significant ancient burials' in the area.

"In effect, it just reinforced what we were attempting in any case," Iowa State Archaeologist John Doershuk said.

Before getting the letter from the Flandreau Tribe this week, Iowa State Archaeologist John Doershuk says he had already looked at his computer database to see whether the casino site was near any archaeological sites. 

"We don't have any recorded archaeological sites within the project footprint.  As I understand it, there are some in the vicinity," Doershuk said.

Doershuk also says burial grounds they have on record are several miles away from the casino site.

But to be sure, the developers of the Lyon County Casino have hired an archaeological consultant to study the site, and Doershuk says he looks forward to that report before reporting back to the Flandreau Tribe. 

"The report the consultant will be providing will give actual on the ground information for the project area itself at a very detailed level, so it's going to make a big difference in terms of what I know about the location," Doershuk said.

Doershuk expects that report within the next week. 

Kehl Management, the developers of the casino, say they are still waiting on some permits before they start construction but they don't anticipate any delays because of the request from the Flandreau Tribe. A spokesperson says the land has been farmed for more than 100 years without anything surfacing, so they don't anticipate finding anything significant.

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