December 16, 2011

Oxford mound is moved

Moving ground:  Work crews begin relocating mound behind Oxford Exchange

By Patrick McCreless
History was on the move in Oxford Thursday.

Dump trucks loaded with stones from atop a hill behind the Oxford Exchange transported their cargo to a site across Leon Smith Parkway Thursday. The move fulfilled part of an agreement between Oxford and a federally recognized American Indian tribe—an agreement the city needed to proceed with a construction project at the site. It also represented the end of a nearly three-year-long controversy regarding the city’s treatment of an alleged ancient Indian stone burial mound.

Fred Denney, Oxford’s city project manager, confirmed Thursday that the transport of rocks from the hill to an adjacent site near the city’s proposed sports complex was part of Oxford’s memorandum of agreement with the Muscogee Creek Nation in Oklahoma, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the Alabama Historical Commission.
Comment:  I gather we're talking about a mound of stones atop the mound of dirt. The vagueness about what the word "mound" refers to has bedeviled us--or at least me--since this story began.

I guess this outcome counts as a compromise, since city officials aren't literally destroying the mound. Doesn't moving it ruin its sacred character and archaeological value, though? If you moved Stonehenge to Kansas, would it still qualify as a Druidic place of worship or an important prehistoric site? I don't think so.  Seems to me the tribe lost and is making the best of a bad situation.

For more on the Oxford mound, see Tribe Agrees to Oxford Mound's Removal and Preserving the Oxford Mound.

Below:  "The mound is down after work crews Thursday began the process of moving it across Leon Smith Parkway." (Bill Wilson)

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