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3 August 2003
Ancient mounds get digital makeovers

Joe Saunders, an archaeologist at the University of Louisiana at Monroe (USA), has participated in a statewide project designed to create a road tour of prehistoric mounds called the Mounds Heritage Trail. The project, he said, will allow people to view mounds from the roadside only. "It's still in the formative stages," said Nancy Hawkins, archaeologist manager for the state. Once completed, the project would call for markers to designate certain Native American mounds located on private property that tourists could see from the road. The state also plans to develop a brochure as a guide for the mounds, Hawkins said.
     Interest in ancient native culture isn't limited to northeastern Louisiana. Many long-abandoned earthworks or mounds have fallen to encroaching cities and farms - probably less than a dozen remain complete, researchers say. Millions of modern-day Americans live or work near earthworks in more than 20 states from Florida to Wisconsin, but do not know they exist.
     A University of Cincinnati project seeks to rebuild the earthworks - at least on the Internet. In July, the university announced that its project - to visually reconstruct about two dozen earthworks in Ohio, Indiana and Kentucky - is 80 percent complete. The Web project, available at http://cerhas.uc.edu/earthworks, aims to teach the public something most people don't learn in school or from watching Westerns on television, said John Hancock, an architecture historian at the university who led the work.
     The University of Cincinnati assembled a team of artists, designers, archaeologists, Native Americans and scholars to do illustrations of earthwork sites, Hancock said. Some of the information was gleaned from illustrations and maps drawn more than a century ago. "We wanted the exact shape of the mound as measured by archaeologists," Hawkins said.  

Source: The News Star (29 July 2003)

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