AROMA PARK — Earlier this week, Jesse Maricle’s fishing line snagged as he was fishing near the confluence of the Iroquois River and Kankakee River.

After guiding his boat to where the snag was, the Kankakee resident discovered a skull submerged in the muddy river bank.

According to Kankakee County Coroner Bob Gessner, Maricle contacted the Illinois State Archaeology Society at the University of Illinois in Champaign. They contacted Gessner.

Since human remains were found, the coroner must investigate to determine if they are human at if it is a possible death investigation.

Gessner said Dr. Thomas Loebel’s initial look revealed that it was the skull of a Native American.

“I could tell it was extremely old, Gessner said about the discovery.

Loebel is the senior cultural resources coordinator for the society. He and an associate recovered the skull as well as two more that were partially exposed on the river bank.

A search revealed it was an burial ground for a tribe.

Gessner said when high river levels receded this summer, it loosened the soil in the area it disturbed the site.

Also discovered were fire rocks, which were used around camp fires, and stone chips believed to be from stones made into tools.According to Gessner, Loebel said there will be of these discoveries in the future.

“You and I think they are they are stones we would skip across the river,” Gessner said.

Loebel said the area the bones were found was at one time an island.

The skulls were taken for further study back to Champaign and will be reburied by society personnel at a later date, Gessner said.

A spokeswoman for the society referred further inquiries about the discovery to the Illinois Department of Resources.

Gessner and Chief Deputy Ken McCabe of the Kankakee County Sheriff’s Department were on scene for about 90 minutes.

A version of this story appeared in the Friday digital edition of the Daily Journal.

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