Alabama's Heritage Mounds

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Anniston Star – Second mound report released

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OXFORD — A University of Alabama archaeologist has released a report stating a pile of stones in Oxford was created by natural forces and not American Indians centuries ago — a report written two months after he signed another report stating the opposite.

Robert Clouse, director of the Office of Archaeological Research at the University of Alabama and director of the University of Alabama Museums, mailed the second report on the mound behind the Oxford Exchange to The Star at a reporter’s request.

The report cites different geologic surveys of the area and other American Indian archaeological excavations for comparison. Clouse is not a geologist, though he says he minored in geology as an undergraduate student.

The report states the mound is a natural formation and is not culturally significant.

The stone mound became the center of a dispute last summer, which ended with the City of Oxford backing away from plans to level the mound and use dirt beneath it for fill at a nearby construction site. City officials have repeatedly stated the mound was not man-made. They also later claimed they had not touched the mound, a claim contradicted by pictures contained in Clouse’s second report which show heavy equipment dismantling it.

The second report concluding the mound was natural was produced in July during the thick of the controversy over the site which began in June. The first report, which said the site was significant, was produced in April.

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Anniston Star – American Indian remains found at sports complex site

Alabama’s state archaeologist said Thursday that crews building Oxford’s multi-million-dollar sports complex uncovered American Indian remains at the site.

Stacye Hathorn, the state archaeologist who works for the Alabama Historical Commission, said University of Alabama archaeologists contacted her around Jan. 8 with their findings.

“UA called, said they found a body, said it was Native American, said it was reburied and the site is being avoided,” Hathorn said.

She said the call was the only one she had received about remains at the site. UA officials have been monitoring construction of the sports complex since it began last year. Hathorn would not provide a detailed description of what the archaeologists found or the specific location of the site because she did not want anyone to go looking for it.

Earlier this week, Jacksonville State University professor of archaeology and anthropology Harry Holstein said the site at the historic Davis Farm adjacent to the sports complex site in Oxford contained remnants of an American Indian village and the 3-foot-high base of a once 30-foot-high temple mound. He says the mound may have contained human remains. The Davis Farm property and the sports complex site are both part of an area archaeologists believe was once a large American Indian village site.

ISS – Sacred Indian mound destroyed for sports complex in Alabama

Harry Holstein, a professor of archaeology and anthropology at Alabama’s Jacksonville State University who specializes in prehistoric stone structure sites, told the Anniston Star newspaper that the ruined site — which contained remnants of an Indian village and the base of a temple mound that may have held human remains — has vanished:

When Holstein visited the site last summer, it was still intact.

But when he returned to the area Monday, he could find no sign of the mound or the village remnants.

The land is now flat, with tire tread marks clearly visible in the dirt.

“It’s been flattened like a pancake,” Holstein said. “There is just grass over it now.”

Holstein was part of a team of JSU researchers who prepared a report for the city before construction began that found the property slated for development contained some of the most significant archaeological sites in northeast Alabama. The report called for their preservation, which city leaders agreed to.

Holstein believes the structures that were at the destroyed site were related to the stone mound on a hill behind an Oxford shopping center. Last year, contractors hired by the city’s Commercial Development Authority were using dirt from that mound as fill for construction of a Sam’s Club, part of a chain operated by Arkansas-based Walmart. Following public outcry, the contractors halted that work and switched to fill dirt provided by a private landowner.

Anniston Star – Cashing in on history Moundville brings money to west Alabama but price is too high for Oxford

Centuries ago, American Indians settled in an area near Tuscaloosa, where they built towering mounds and a thriving cultural center. Today the area is known as the Moundville Archaeological Park and it too is thriving — drawing thousands of visitors and generating millions for the economy of west Alabama each year.

The city of Oxford was once home to a similar Indian culture long ago and though it is not as elaborate, the city today contains many archaeological sites. In addition, near some of the Indian sites is a 19th century home with plenty of history of its own.

In recent years, some have suggested that like Moundville, Oxford could have its own historic attraction. However, creating such a facility may not be easy, especially since some of the sites may have recently been destroyed.

For years Harry Holstein, professor of archaeology and anthropology at Jacksonville State University, has researched the Davis Farm property — much of which is being used as the construction site for Oxford’s multi-million-dollar sports complex — and uncovered large amounts of ancient artifacts and the remnants of a temple mound and village.

Deep Fried Kudzu

Oxford, Alabama Destroying A 1500-Year-Old Indian Mound To Build A Sam’s Club
After writing the post yesterday about how the city of Oxford is destroying a 1500-year-old Indian mound to use it as fill for the building of a Sam’s Club, I just had to go see it for myself.

It towers over the shopping center “Oxford Exchange”

Anniston Star – In the Oxford dirt

Re “American Indian body found at Oxford site” (News article, Jan. 22):

When I was informed of the findings of human remains at the Davis Farm site earlier last week, my first reaction was one of extreme anger.

My anger was soon joined by sorrow that the city of Oxford could be so callous to the feelings of an entire ethnic group. The fact that “a body” was unearthed by a bulldozer and without care or ceremony “reburied” breaks my heart. That “body” was a human being.

As a person who just buried my own mother, it is incomprehensible to me how the city of Oxford could even consider continuing development of that site. Beyond the ethical questions involved, there are also health questions to be answered. Does anyone know how this person died? Was it natural causes or was it disease?

Alabama Archaeological Society

Destruction of the Oxford Indian Stone Mound
by Richard Kilborn

The State of Alabama has a rich pre-historic past that in some locations is evidenced by the presence of Indian Mounds. These mounds were frequently the ceremonial center for local villages and surrounding regional settlements at which the Native American Indians practiced their social and religious beliefs. Many of the mounds had burials interred within them. Most mounds were constructed of earth carried in baskets from adjacent land but on rare occasions they were made by stacking up stones. Either way, a tremendous amount of time and effort was expended in their construction and is a testament to the importance of these sites to their builders.

Archaeologists and other professionals in interrelated fields have studied some of these sites using a very meticulous and disciplined scientific method of excavation and documenting what was observed in extremely detailed records. This enabled them to gain insights into the state of civilization for the American Indians in a time before the arrival of Europeans. These excavations have helped fill in many blank areas in our knowledge of this land’s prehistoric past but much remains to be learned.

The largest stone mound in the Choccolocco Valley was constructed on the top of a steep 200 foot hill in Oxford Alabama and measures 96 feet long by 48 feet wide with the stones stacked almost 6 feet high. Harry Holstein, Jacksonville State University professor of anthropology and archaeology recorded the site designated as 1Ca636 in 2003 although it had been known of decades earlier. Inhabitants of a major prehistoric Woodland and Mississippian town only hundreds of meters away on the bank of the Choccolocco Creek most likely built this sacred site between 500 to 2,500 years ago.


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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

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