November 23, 2010

Preserving the Oxford mound

Another report on the Oxford mound controversy from last year:

Oxford working to preserve Indian artifacts at construction site

By Patrick McCrelessIt is hard to notice until you are literally standing on top of it.

But a grass-covered, centuries-old manmade mound does indeed exist at Davis Farm in Oxford–its slope plainly visible by anyone standing at the site looking south.

It and other American Indian artifacts on the property have withstood the test of time, and though Oxford is trying to build a multi-million dollar sports complex nearby, the city is ensuring that history will be preserved.

During its last meeting, the Oxford City Council hired engineering firm Goodwyn, Mills and Cawood to negotiate a mitigation plan with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the Alabama Historic Preservation Office to restart construction of the sports complex.
And:The next step toward restarting the project includes the creation of a mitigation plan to protect the remains, the mound and any other American Indian artifacts found at the site. Once the plan is made, all parties involved will sign a legal contract to abide by the plans’ rules.

Details on what the plan would entail were not available as of Monday.

“But there will be a burial treatment plan in place and it will specify exactly what will take place from the time it is discovered,” said Perry said.

The mound was one site marked out of bounds for the city several years ago. It and another nearby site, which some archaeologists suspect was once the location of an ancient village, were fenced off by the city when the sports complex project began.

One of those archaeologists, Harry Holstein, professor of archaeology at Jacksonville State University, claimed in January that someone had destroyed the mound.

After revisiting the site Monday with Goodwyn, Mills and Cawood representatives and a representative from the Historic Preservation Office, Holstein recanted his previous claim and said he was confident the city would protect it and other Indian sites.

“I’m positive it’s there and they are going to save it,” Holstein said.
Comment:  This issue remains a confusing one. It involves a hill, a stone mound on the hill, other sites on the hill, other sites on a nearby hill or mound, etc. Articles have discussed all of this under the single label "mound"--as in "the mound is threatened" and "they're digging up the mound."

Holstein was a prime contributor to this confusion with his claim that the mound was gone. Now he's recanted his claim. Next time, professor, don't say anything unless you've got incontrovertible evidence. Preferably a personal inspection of the site in question.

And everyone, learn to explain things better. When someone describes the hill, mound, and site(s) clearly, it'll be the first time. People across the nation joined a virtual movement to save the "mound," but I'm not sure anyone knew what they were fighting for.

For more on the subject, see Mayor Lies About Oxford Mound and Activists Protest Mound's Destruction.

Below:  The hill or mound in question, with some excavation visible.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Wow this is a great resource.. I’m enjoying it.. good article