Agency: Ancient burial mounds looted, driven over

Ancient American Indian burial mounds in southern Illinois have been damaged and possibly looted, prompting the state’s historical agency to call for the public’s help in identifying the culprits.

Last month, someone dug several holes in a portion of Kincaid Mounds State Historic Site, a town and religious center of the Mississippian culture of 1,000 years ago in what is now rural Massac and Pope counties, the Illinois Historic Preservation Agency said Friday.

John Schwegman, left, and Jim Modglin point out locations of former houses while visiting Kincaid Mounds in 2008.

The culprits were probably searching for “grave goods” that Native Americans buried with their dead, although it’s unclear if any artifacts or human remains were taken, the agency said. More damage was done to the site recently when an all-terrain vehicle or truck was driven on one of the mounds, where “No Trespassing” signs are posted and ATVs are prohibited, the agency said.

“The criminal disturbance of these human burials in Kincaid Mounds is unconscionable,” said Amy Martin, the agency’s director. “We hope to apprehend those who are responsible, which will serve as a deterrent to others who may be considering the desecration of our state’s heritage.”

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