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Story Archives: Program on Troyville mounds set in Jonesville
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|Program on Troyville mounds set in Jonesville|
Plans to develop a museum in Jonesville about Troyville and other mound sites along the Ouachita River will be presented by and discussed with Bill Atkins at 6 p.m. Thursday, October 9, at the Jonesville Library on 206 Pond Street.
While exploring the new Louisiana Purchase in 1804-05 the Dunbar-Hunter expedition of the Ouachita River described a very unique "Great Mound" as a three-tiered earthen mound 83 feet tall and 180 x 180 feet at the base. The lower two tiers were rectangular platforms and the third was a conical mound, making it the second tallest mound in North America.
Damaged by Civil War embankments and later the expansion of Jonesville on the site, the coup de grace was when the mound was sold as road fill for $50. In 1932-33 Winslow Walker, of the Smithsonian Institute, conducted limited archaeological excavations as the mound was leveled. He exposed log steps, wooden planks, matting secured with pegs, mysterious cane domes, and a palisade around the mound base.
The Great Mound
Today a new bridge is being built in Jonesville. The construction will expose part of the dirt hauled from the Great Mound.
Plans are to reconstruct a smaller replica of the mound with its original fill. In addition, the Town of Jonesville is developing a museum about the Troyville site, the ancient mounds of the Ouachita River Valley, and Native American myths about the origin of the earthen mounds.
The Troyville exhibit will display over 60 black-and-white photographs, profile drawings, maps and text of Walker's excavations to illustrate the engineering skills of the builders. Artifacts and house patterns exposed by the 2006 excavations will be included.
Ouachita Valley Mounds
Thirty-nine-prehistoric mound sites in northeast Louisiana make-up the Ancient Mounds Trail guide. Eleven of the most spectacular mounds are along the Ouachita River between Jonesville and Monroe. A 6 x 4 foot scale model of the Ouachita Valley will show the site locations. The display will include 2 x 2 foot 1:1:1 scale models of the larger mound sites and video of each site on the Mounds Trail.
The Ouachita valley has the oldest mounds in North America. The origin myths of Southeastern Native American people often include earthen mounds. Native American accounts of their origins will be recorded in the speaker's native language. Each of the tribal accounts can be viewed with a choice of English, Spanish, French and Japanese subtitles.
The most undervalued and underdeveloped cultural tourism in Louisiana is its Native American earthen monumental architecture. The establishment of the Ancient Mounds Trial is the necessary first step.
The second step is establishing a museum about Louisiana mounds: the oldest (Watson Brake and Caney Mounds), the most unique design (Poverty Point, Marksville, Troyville, Mott); and the best preserved (McGuffee, Routon, Balmoral, Scott, and Sundown). Louisiana could easily be to mound sites what New Mexico is to Pueblo Indian sites. In 2003, New Mexico cultural tourism generated $600 million in revenues. Visitors to archaeological/historical sites numbered 815,930.
Jonesville is located near the center of the Ancient Mounds Trail, making it the logical location for a museum devoted to mound building and the Ancient Mounds Trail.
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