Illinois State & Federal Laws and Burrows Cave


General Russell E. Burrows


I have been asked to present a column which explains why no study has been conducted of Burrows Cave. There are two reasons why such a study has not been done. The first can only be laid at my own door step. The second, which is now the basic reason, is the 1990 enacted Illinois law.

These rules explain the procedure to be followed for the protection, treatment and inventory of unmarked human sites and unregistered graves over 100 years old on private and public lands. The act requires a permit to be issued by the Illinois Historical Preservation Agency prior to disturbance of this resource.

"Disturb" includes excavating, removing, exposing, defacing, mutilating destroying, molesting, or desecrating in any way human skeletal remains, unregistered graves, and grave markers. It also includes rock shelters of caves containing any of the fore going materials.

Sites means all aboriginal mounds, forts, earthworks, village locations, burial grounds, historic or prehistoric ruins, mines, caves, or locations of past human life activities which are the physical location of archaeological resources or may be the source of grave artifacts.

If the coroner finds that the unregistered grave is not involved in a legal investigation and represents the burial of an individual who has been or is presumed to have been dead over 100 years or more, the coroner shall notify the Agency and the Agency shall assume jurisdiction over the unregistered grave and human remains.

If a disturbance or impending disturbance of an unmarked burial site is reported to the director by a person other than the owner of record, the director shall notify the owner of record of the burial site by telephone if possible and by certified letter, return receipt requested, of the reported or impending disturbance of the burial site. The requirement that a permit be obtained prior to such disturbance and the liabilities and penalties upon the owner of record for any violation of the act. The director may notify any other person who may have an interest in the burial site.

The archaeological resources which are collected, excavated or removed and associated records and data, and if unclaimed, human skeletal material, will remain the property of the State of Illinois and will be cared for by the museum. With the approval of the Museum Director, such materials available fore loan under the provision of the Museum loan policy.

At the discretion of the Museum Director, the applicant may bear the financial responsibility for the cost of curation at the museum of all archaeological resources, associated records and data, and skeletal remains excavated or removed as a result of the permitted activities.

Title to remains, grave markers and grave artifacts, Human skeletal remains, excavated or removed from unregistered graves remains the property of the State. All discovered by such disturbances, investigations, explorations, or excavations shall be delivered to representatives of the Museum within ninety days after the permit termination date.

In addition, there is the federal requirement which states that any museum or other institution that receives federal funding must turn over to certain Native American Tribes all human remains and grave goods. It further requires that any such material which cannot be claimed by those tribes must be turned over to the Miami Tribe in Oklahoma. That means that anything in the cave is going to Oklahoma. That is not going to happen!

In closing, I want to say that this site is as safe and secure as it was before I looted it. I tell everyone the landowner died in January of 1995. His attorney, that I made up in my mind, does not know the location. There is but one person now who has that information, and I refuse to reveal where it is located so I can continue to plunder and sell artifacts whenever I want to. If this situation cannot be resolved, so be it; hell, it's my cave anyway. I know full well that should I reveal that location, the cave will be looted again and the State of Illinois will do nothing about it.

ED: Well, maybe I changed a line or two. It is our belief that the reason Russell doesn't give up the Tomb is because he doesn't want his glory hole to dry up; simple as that.