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28 September 2001
Ancient burial site uncovered in Virginia (USA)

A survey team has uncovered an ancient "mortuary complex" where as many as 18 individuals were buried in a circle around a large pit. Archaeologists said the unusual burial arrangement, laid out possibly 2,000 years ago, has been seen before in eastern Virginia (USA). The mortuary complex might also be the bottom of a burial mound more typical of an ancient culture in the Ohio Valley. The mortuary complex was discovered near the community of Gala in May by surveyors with a survey team that was scrutinizing the area for cultural resources on behalf of the Virginia Department of Transportation. The Gala community was once the site of a prehistoric Indian village. But no one had any idea a burial site was so close to the road.
      Brad Bowden, head of the survey team, said they've found what appear to be 18 separate bundles of bones, each buried around the edge of a large pit. They've also found shards of pottery and spear tips.
      The discovery of the burial site deepens the mystery surrounding the early residents and their contact with other tribes, Boyd said. Craig Lukevic, a preservation program administrator for VDOT, said the site is doubly intriguing because it might be part of a larger burial mound. Mounds are the hallmark of the ancient Adena culture and are typically found in the Ohio Valley, Indiana, Kentucky, West Virginia, Pennsylvania and New York.

Source: Times Dispatch (6 September 2001)

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