Hamilton County fined after archeologists dug up 90,000 artifacts at Native American gravesite

Photo of Strawtown Koteewi Park from Google Maps

NOBLESVILLE, Ind. — The U.S. Department of the Interior is fining a central Indiana county for violating a federal law aimed at protecting Native American gravesites.

The fine of about $6,500 against the Hamilton County Parks Department concerns work by archaeologists from Indiana University-Purdue University Fort Wayne at Strawtown Koteewi Park near Noblesville. The Indianapolis Star reports that more than 90,000 artifacts associated with human remains and 200 human bone and teeth samples were unearthed there between 2001 and 2011.

Former Miami of Oklahoma preservation officer George Strack says the excavations were egregious and the fine should be much higher. Strack says the parks department was “let off the hook.”

Hamilton County Parks Director Al Patterson says the department has cooperated with federal officials and now has a staff member overseeing archaeological work.

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