Artifacts found in southern Indiana landslide near Horseshoe Casino

FLOYD COUNTY, Ind. (WDRB) -- An archaeology team with INDOT is digging through the dirt near Horseshoe Casino, looking for historical artifacts that need to be preserved before roadwork can continue on a landslide off Highway 111. 

So far, they've found evidence of three cultural horizons.

"In other words, there have been people here, silt has covered over, more people, silt's covered over,” said Indiana Department of Transportation spokesman Harry Maginity.  “The evidence is that there have been rocks that have been fired -- there's fire on rocks -- and it looks like the remnants of tool making was here."

The state road started deteriorating earlier this year because of a landslide. Even recent patchwork is giving way, but the lanes have been shifted to keep drivers safe.

"We are prioritizing safety on this road,” said Maginity. “We're going to cover up this find and do a traditional soil nailing to hold the embankment and hold the walls here as well."

Maginity says it doesn't look like a permanent encampment settled there, but preservation crews have to go through the archeology before INDOT can fix the slide. A state statute also requires the DNR to get involved whenever someone finds human remains or artifacts older than 1870.

Finding historic artifacts in this area is not uncommon. In fact, the Indiana Department of Natural Resources says before the casino was built in the 1990s, the organization found artifacts dating all the way back from 9000 B.C. to 600 A.D.

Pictures sent to WDRB News from the DNR are courtesy of archaeologists at Indiana State University. Before the casino was built, crews found everything from pottery and animal bones to stone cooking and hunting tools like axes, spears and arrow heads.

"We have not uncovered anything like ‘jump up and down’ type of relics, 'oh I found an arrowhead, oh I found a tool', but we have found what looks like the remnants of making the arrowhead and making the tool," said Maginity.

Crews will be on site until Aug. 8. Work on stabilizing the slide is expected to start later this month and it’s not clear how long the fix would take.

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