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29 September 2004
Ancient Indian camp unearthed in Alabama

State archaeologists have discovered a Native American campground near Palmerdale in north Jefferson County (Alabama, USA) along the route of the proposed northern beltline. The site dates from 8000 BCE to 1000 CE and is about 600 feet long and 180 feet wide, said Alabama Department of Transportation archaeologist Bill Turner.
     On the bank of Self Creek, the campground is covered with brush and waist-high weeds. Evidence of Indian fire pits and storage pits was found when the land was recently excavated, Turner said. The state plans a major excavation of the site within a few weeks. If that turns up significant evidence, the state will do a full-scale recovery operation of the artifacts, Turner said.
     The site may have been a Native American highway through the mountains and a link to Moundville, Turner said. Moundville is in Hale County, where a state park is the site of an ancient Indian village and burial ground.
     Thousands of years ago, Indians camped along the creek and set up villages. "But the Self Creek site was a different cultural entity, a different way of life," Turner said. "Whereas Moundville was a major city and ceremonial center, these people lived in villages that were seasonally occupied."
     The state is required to do archaeological studies at all highway projects which receive federal money. Archaeologists will remove all the artifacts they can find, then dirt will be put back over the site and the beltway will be built over it, state highway officials said. The creekbank campground is along the first beltline segment to be built, between Alabama 75 and Alabama 79.

Source: The Birmingham News (27 September 2004)

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