Alabama's Heritage Mounds

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Oxford discusses shutting down sports complex project

The Oxford City Council today discussed abandoning a project that has cost taxpayers approximately $281,000 in delays since ancient human remains were discovered at the site in February.

During the special called meeting, the council agreed to table a final decision on the city’s multi-million-dollar sports complex project on the historic Davis Farm until the cost to void the construction contract could be compared with the cost of waiting until work could resume.

To date, the city has spent more than $5.9 million on the project, most of it for the purchase of the property.

Oxford City Project Manager Fred Denney said at the end of the meeting that because of the mounting costs, the city’s approximately $18 million bond issue for the project could no longer pay for all the construction.

Representatives of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, who attended the meeting, said it could take at least three months to ensure all federal requirements are met before they could allow the Oxford project to resume.

The corps stopped the project around late February because it was not notified about the American Indian remains, which were discovered around Jan. 8 at the construction site. A wetlands permit that the city obtained to develop the Davis Farm site stipulates the corps must be notified if any remains and or artifacts are discovered.(…more)

Anniston Star – Mayor says mound will be demolished hill developed

Oxford may be planning to remove a controversial pile of stones from a hill behind the Oxford Exchange shopping center, according to a story in a national newspaper.

A story that appeared on the Web site of The New York Times on Friday said Mayor Leon Smith plans to demolish the stone pile, which may have been built a thousand years ago by American Indians, and make it the site of a hotel, restaurant or health clinic.

Oxford Journal – When Scholarship and Tribal Heritage Face Off Against Commerce –

OXFORD, Ala. — Overlooking the Interstate and an outdoor shopping mall here stands a sad little hill, bald but for four bare trees and a scattering of stones.
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Bob Farley for The New York Times

Harry O. Holstein, the archaeology professor who tried to protect the stone mound.

That the stones are there is beyond argument. But everything else about them — whether somebody put them there, how long they have been there and what should be done with them — became a matter of fierce debate last summer and has continued to yield surprising twists into recent weeks.

The latest episode in the very long history of the Oxford stones began last June, when an excavator showed up on the hill. The city was planning for the construction of a Sam’s Club nearby and intended to use dirt from the hill for the area where the store would sit.

Then a local archaeology professor began making phone calls.

The professor, Harry O. Holstein of nearby Jacksonville State University, had concluded that a stone mound at the top of the hill was constructed by American Indians more than a thousand years ago, and in 2003 he recorded it in a state archaeological registry. The possibility of its being destroyed, Dr. Holstein said, made him sick.

“I’m not against development,” he said. “But some things should just be saved.”

Anniston Star – Local News, Business, Sports, Events, Blogs, Videos, Podcasts – Anniston, Ala.

State Sen. Wendell Mitchell, D-Luverne, says a pair of bills he sponsored to offer greater protection to American Indian sites in Alabama have passed the state Senate.

If one of the bills becomes law, it would close a loophole in state law that currently allows for the removal of ancient Indian burial sites under certain circumstances. Under current Alabama law, anybody who desecrates graves and mutilates corpses is guilty of a Class C felony, which is punishable by up to 10 years in prison. However, the law sets a different standard for American Indian burial sites.

The current law states that any person who maliciously desecrates an American Indian place of burial or funerary objects on property not owned by the person shall be guilty of a Class C felony. It’s the “not owned” part of the law that has given property owners the final say on what happens to many Indian burial sites.

Wendell said another bill that passed the Senate today would require people removing grave sites to get permission from a local governing body. If it’s in Oxford, for example, permission would have to come from the Oxford City Council, he said.

Mitchell said neither bill has a House sponsor and did not know if anyone in the local legislative delegation was interested in taking up the cause.

Experts refute claims in 2nd mound report

Some experts and academics around the state are disagreeing with a University of Alabama archaeologist’s report concluding a pile of stones in Oxford is a natural phenomenon — not built by American Indians centuries ago.

Kelly Gregg, a Jacksonville State University geology professor who has visited the site located behind the Oxford Exchange, has repeatedly said the stone mound is not natural. He was not dissuaded from his opinion after reviewing the report.(…more)

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  • myeagermind: Reblogged this on Lenora's Culture
  • Mashu White Feather: Sgi, Edutsi, I appreciate the advice. Donadagahv'i, Mashu
  • Leonard Lewis: There's a lot of support for this cause....don't give up.....just make sure the response is directed to those responsible for all this mess and make t