August 27, 2008

Mound builders live again

'Big earthwork' will welcome travelers to OklahomaThousands of years ago, it may have taken centuries for the indigenous Americans to construct a mound like the new Central Promontory Mound at the southeast interchange of Interstates 35 and 40.

But using 21st century technology, officials with the American Indian Cultural Center and Museum were able to finish the 90-foot-high earthwork in about two years.

Much of the planned museum and cultural center remains under heavy construction, but Tuesday morning, officials were ready to celebrate their first milestone with the dedication of the monolithic earthen mound.

The towering mound, which was inspired by ancient earthworks constructed across Oklahoma and in eastern North America, was built using 1.7 billion pounds of red earth brought to the site by 42,000 dump truck loads.
21st Century Mound BuildersThe Central Promontory mound on the site of the AICCM was inspired by the mound building cultures in Oklahoma and eastern North America. As Native cultures have done for thousands of years, we will once again gather at the river to celebrate an important milestone in Oklahoma’s history,” says Gena Timberman, Executive Director, Native American Cultural and Educational Authority, the state agency developing the AICCM. Oklahoma has a rich legacy of mound building beginning many centuries ago with Oklahoma’s indigenous American Indian people (ancestors of the modern day Caddo Nation and Wichita & Affiliated Tribes), dating back to around 500 A.D. Regulators of early trade, these innovative people flourished as an extension of the Mississippian mound builders east of the Mississippi River. The Spiro Mounds in eastern Oklahoma are considered one of the most important archaeological discoveries in North America. The political and social systems being used by these people were progressive and complex. Thousands of Village Agriculturalist occupation sites have been documented, especially in the Arkansas and Red River drainage systems in Oklahoma.

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