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1 April 2015
Excavation of an ancient Indian mound along Tennessee River

Hunter Johnson and Travis Rael have been excavating around the now-closed Florence Indian Mound Museum (Alabama, USA) in anticipation of a new facility being built later this year. They work for Tennessee Valley Archaeological Research, which is under contract with the city to perform the work.
     The mound is from the Native American Woodland period, Johnson said, which dated from 1,000 BCE to 250 CE. The Florence mound is believed to be from the Middle Woodland period, Johnson said, with radio carbon dating at the top of the mound showing it in use about 250 CE, leading to the conclusion lower portions of the mound are older.
     Pieces of flinty stone, along with bits of broken pottery, is evidence of habitation around the ancient mound on the north bank of the Tennessee River, Johnson said: "The pottery helps us tell the period people were here," he said. "The clay was mixed with something that kept the pottery from exploding when it was fired. That material tells us when it was made."
     The city has earmarked $1.25 million to build a new museum to replace the existing building, which was acquired in the late 1960s. "We're moving as fast as we can possibly move with this," Mayor Mickey Haddock said, and now officials are awaiting the result of the archaeological excavations. "We have not found any artifacts that would prevent us from using that site," Haddock said.

Edited from SFGate (24 March 2015)

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