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re ridged agricultural fields

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  • minnesotastan
    Dr. Clark s post #125 included the following - At Ocumulgee and two sites in Illinois archaeologists have found evidence of agricultural fields in which the
    Message 1 of 5 , Mar 6, 2007
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      Dr. Clark's post #125 included the following -

      "At Ocumulgee and two sites in Illinois archaeologists have found
      evidence of agricultural fields in which the topsoil was heaped up
      into parallel ridges. At Ocmulgee these ridges were about 20
      centimeters high and 30 to 50 centimeters apart. The advantages of
      this type of cultivation are not well understood. One possibility is
      that it may have been an adaptation to water-logged soil."
      Southeastern Indians, by Charles Hudson (1976),page 298

      I have a possible explanation. The technique of planting on ridges
      alternating with water-filled furrows was developed in ancient times
      in either Mesoamerica or South America (I can't remember the cultural
      affiliation) as a way to enhance agricultural productivity, especially
      in high-altitude sites with cold nights. The water in the furrows
      acts as a thermal buffer during the nights, preventing frost from
      damaging young plants and thereby extending the growing season.

      Illinois is not at altitude, but is far enough north that such an
      adaptation might allow corn, potatoes, etc to be planted in March
      rather than in April etc.

      Just a thought. Others may wish to add or correct...

      Stan
    • Rick Osmon
      Stan, I have to agree with the author, water-logged soil is the most obvious logical explanation for much of Illinois, though other, perhaps better reasons
      Message 2 of 5 , Mar 6, 2007
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        Stan,

        I have to agree with the author, water-logged soil is the most obvious
        logical explanation for much of Illinois, though other, perhaps better
        reasons could certainly exist. I am not familiar with the topography
        of Ocumulgee, but most of Illinois has been under my tires or boots.
        Much of Illinois is prone to flooding to one degree or another. So is
        the southern part of Indiana, for that matter. I have to laugh when
        ever I read that perennial question / observation "But why the mounds
        were built in the first place remains a mystery". If you slogged
        through the river bottoms around here at any time, you would learn the
        value of having one dry spot...or a whole series of them.

        Not all mounds were burial places and not all mounds were ceremonial
        or huge. Some were just the right size to set up camp for a hunting or
        fishing party. The latter type (in my area, at least) once had
        abundant flakes but very few whole points. In the western half of this
        county (Daviess) there are also many, many features that the
        geologists call "sand blows". These are low to medium ground features
        where a pile of sand or sand / silt mix sits on top of alluvial fill.
        The pros attribute it to seismic activity called liquification, where
        very wet sand "boils" out of the underlying soil during a seismic
        event. Regardless of the cause, they are almost always good for a few
        flakes.

        Also, one thing that is often overlooked is that the water table of
        the entire Mississippi basin was quite a bit higher (as much as 15
        feet) just two hundred years ago and the floods were more regular and
        more consistent in depth and duration. The Big Muddy "channel" was
        also nearly impassable with snags, even for canoes. At the time
        Cahokia was built, the flood waters might have occasionally lapped
        around its base.

        On the other hand, it may have nothing at all to do with water. We
        don't know whether the author's observation was while the "furrows"
        were in active use or after years of erosion. We also don't know how
        wide each row was, only the distance between them. A raised bed of 20
        centimeters (about 10 inches) is enough to lessen back strain, but
        higher is better. Raised bed gardening is definitely much easier on
        the body that traditional European style. Water filled furrows between
        raised beds would be problematic for the people tending that garden.
        Half a meter (20 inches) between the rows is just right for setting
        down you gathering basket.

        Oz


        --- In ancient_waterways_society@yahoogroups.com, "minnesotastan"
        <minnesotastan@...> wrote:
        >
        > Dr. Clark's post #125 included the following -
        >
        > "At Ocumulgee and two sites in Illinois archaeologists have found
        > evidence of agricultural fields in which the topsoil was heaped up
        > into parallel ridges. At Ocmulgee these ridges were about 20
        > centimeters high and 30 to 50 centimeters apart. The advantages of
        > this type of cultivation are not well understood. One possibility is
        > that it may have been an adaptation to water-logged soil."
        > Southeastern Indians, by Charles Hudson (1976),page 298
        >
        > I have a possible explanation. The technique of planting on ridges
        > alternating with water-filled furrows was developed in ancient times
        > in either Mesoamerica or South America (I can't remember the cultural
        > affiliation) as a way to enhance agricultural productivity, especially
        > in high-altitude sites with cold nights. The water in the furrows
        > acts as a thermal buffer during the nights, preventing frost from
        > damaging young plants and thereby extending the growing season.
        >
        > Illinois is not at altitude, but is far enough north that such an
        > adaptation might allow corn, potatoes, etc to be planted in March
        > rather than in April etc.
        >
        > Just a thought. Others may wish to add or correct...
        >
        > Stan
        >
      • Vincent Barrows
        One possible explanation for building the mounds at Cahokia is that the mounds were built in patterns that were seen in the star world and that they were
        Message 3 of 5 , Mar 6, 2007
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          One possible explanation for building the mounds at Cahokia is that the mounds were built in patterns that were seen in the star world and that they were mythological. Sandstone carvings on the mounds do tie in closely with constellations as well as mythological stories and legends. The mounds forming cahokia mounds are very similar to the constellation called "Aquila". Ocmulgee straight lines may represent the milky way, constellations, a pathway to heaven. or other concepts.
           
          The selfless love of an entire civilization would be required to build the mounds at Cahokia. They account for at least 80 million cubic feet of hard and compacted clays moved by hand into the position that they still stand. Invading Whitemans conquerors have destroyed nearly all of the mounds, however, the largest mound,now only 86 ft high turtle-shaped effigy called monks mound remains, with footpaths all over the sides.
           
          The turtle is connected throughout the country in mythological stories in a creation myth that is called Nanabozho.  The turtle is also the foundation of the earth, according to many native american myths and legends.
           
          We now have ATVs ruining the remaining few mounds at Cahokia, as can be seen in Satellite images including google earth. And they will be destroyed unless someone takes action. I was booted out of the "volunteer" group for even raising the issue.
           
          Vince Barrows

          Rick Osmon <ozman@...> wrote:
          Stan,

          I have to agree with the author, water-logged soil is the most obvious
          logical explanation for much of Illinois, though other, perhaps better
          reasons could certainly exist. I am not familiar with the topography
          of Ocumulgee, but most of Illinois has been under my tires or boots.
          Much of Illinois is prone to flooding to one degree or another. So is
          the southern part of Indiana, for that matter. I have to laugh when
          ever I read that perennial question / observation "But why the mounds
          were built in the first place remains a mystery". If you slogged
          through the river bottoms around here at any time, you would learn the
          value of having one dry spot...or a whole series of them.

          Not all mounds were burial places and not all mounds were ceremonial
          or huge. Some were just the right size to set up camp for a hunting or
          fishing party. The latter type (in my area, at least) once had
          abundant flakes but very few whole points. In the western half of this
          county (Daviess) there are also many, many features that the
          geologists call "sand blows". These are low to medium ground features
          where a pile of sand or sand / silt mix sits on top of alluvial fill.
          The pros attribute it to seismic activity called liquification, where
          very wet sand "boils" out of the underlying soil during a seismic
          event. Regardless of the cause, they are almost always good for a few
          flakes.

          Also, one thing that is often overlooked is that the water table of
          the entire Mississippi basin was quite a bit higher (as much as 15
          feet) just two hundred years ago and the floods were more regular and
          more consistent in depth and duration. The Big Muddy "channel" was
          also nearly impassable with snags, even for canoes. At the time
          Cahokia was built, the flood waters might have occasionally lapped
          around its base.

          On the other hand, it may have nothing at all to do with water. We
          don't know whether the author's observation was while the "furrows"
          were in active use or after years of erosion. We also don't know how
          wide each row was, only the distance between them. A raised bed of 20
          centimeters (about 10 inches) is enough to lessen back strain, but
          higher is better. Raised bed gardening is definitely much easier on
          the body that traditional European style. Water filled furrows between
          raised beds would be problematic for the people tending that garden.
          Half a meter (20 inches) between the rows is just right for setting
          down you gathering basket.

          Oz

          --- In ancient_waterways_ society@yahoogro ups.com, "minnesotastan"
          <minnesotastan@ ...> wrote:
          >
          > Dr. Clark's post #125 included the following -
          >
          > "At Ocumulgee and two sites in Illinois archaeologists have found
          > evidence of agricultural fields in which the topsoil was heaped up
          > into parallel ridges. At Ocmulgee these ridges were about 20
          > centimeters high and 30 to 50 centimeters apart. The advantages of
          > this type of cultivation are not well understood. One possibility is
          > that it may have been an adaptation to water-logged soil."
          > Southeastern Indians, by Charles Hudson (1976),page 298
          >
          > I have a possible explanation. The technique of planting on ridges
          > alternating with water-filled furrows was developed in ancient times
          > in either Mesoamerica or South America (I can't remember the cultural
          > affiliation) as a way to enhance agricultural productivity, especially
          > in high-altitude sites with cold nights. The water in the furrows
          > acts as a thermal buffer during the nights, preventing frost from
          > damaging young plants and thereby extending the growing season.
          >
          > Illinois is not at altitude, but is far enough north that such an
          > adaptation might allow corn, potatoes, etc to be planted in March
          > rather than in April etc.
          >
          > Just a thought. Others may wish to add or correct...
          >
          > Stan
          >



          Everyone is raving about the all-new Yahoo! Mail beta.

        • james m. clark jr.
          Dr. Clark, Stan? lol I hope you are referring to me as a Doctor as Buz would address Elmer Fudd. I did consider one university to major in ancient history
          Message 4 of 5 , Mar 6, 2007
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            Dr. Clark, Stan? lol

            I hope you are referring to me as a "Doctor" as Buz would address
            Elmer Fudd. I did consider one university to major in ancient history
            but my score wasn't high enough to get in.

            The only culture I can recall at the moment as far as using channels
            to blanket frost in valleys were either the Totec or pehaps the Aztec.

            On another note: Last year was a pretty unusual year. I don't recall
            one afternoon thunder shower; maybe one. Georgia however doesn't have
            not even have one natural lake, mostly swamp lands with exception of
            one two or three low rivers inland. Perhaps this was an idea to filter
            the water from the Ocmulgee River which would mix with the local mash.
            But to give the earth water fitting drink during the dry season
            between fungi infested planting season, it would seem logical to
            produce productive plants regardless of flood plain locations. That
            being said, the Ocmulgee Old fields were more than likely abandoned
            more than few time as far as a possible reason for completely
            abandoning such a significant location inland.

            The last time I checked as far as Native Americans with phd's in
            archeology at least, there were only 5 in all places where the No
            childern Left Behind act doesn't really apply. As far as me, I am a
            former Redneck if you will; Black Irish, Cherokee (although from my
            grandfaters side)and perhaps Seminole according to family tradition or
            either Euchee from my grandmothers side whom wasn't listed in 1890 nor
            1900 records.

            be well all,
            jamey

            --- In ancient_waterways_society@yahoogroups.com, "minnesotastan"
            <minnesotastan@...> wrote:
            >
            > Dr. Clark's post #125 included the following -
            >
            > "At Ocumulgee and two sites in Illinois archaeologists have found
            > evidence of agricultural fields in which the topsoil was heaped up
            > into parallel ridges. At Ocmulgee these ridges were about 20
            > centimeters high and 30 to 50 centimeters apart. The advantages of
            > this type of cultivation are not well understood. One possibility is
            > that it may have been an adaptation to water-logged soil."
            > Southeastern Indians, by Charles Hudson (1976),page 298
            >
            > I have a possible explanation. The technique of planting on ridges
            > alternating with water-filled furrows was developed in ancient times
            > in either Mesoamerica or South America (I can't remember the cultural
            > affiliation) as a way to enhance agricultural productivity, especially
            > in high-altitude sites with cold nights. The water in the furrows
            > acts as a thermal buffer during the nights, preventing frost from
            > damaging young plants and thereby extending the growing season.
            >
            > Illinois is not at altitude, but is far enough north that such an
            > adaptation might allow corn, potatoes, etc to be planted in March
            > rather than in April etc.
            >
            > Just a thought. Others may wish to add or correct...
            >
            > Stan
            >
          • Susan
            Ancient Waterways Memebers, Was out of state working near the Colorado River/Hoover Dam, then Minnesota for a couple of weeks when posts rolled in a row here.
            Message 5 of 5 , Mar 13, 2007
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              Ancient Waterways Memebers,

              Was out of state working near the Colorado River/Hoover Dam, then
              Minnesota for a couple of weeks when posts rolled in a row here. I
              hesitate to insert a specific item from the fine coordination of
              posts from three or four of you at this site. Please re-read your
              letters below. I send many passages, links from your posts to other
              groups. The following yesterday to one of two Egyptian web groups
              where several of us are trying off-site to find within our minds and
              hearts aspects developed by ancient wisdomkeeper who left clues
              everywhere. More people these days seem to be seeking to learn to
              think, live harmonously with each other, and in reverence to Nature.
              I see it within you at this and other sites. I believe the builders
              of ancient earthworks and stoneworks showed cooperative intention and
              creativity most clearly at the advent of the building of their
              civilizations and sacred sites, moreso than after the rise of wealth,
              power, violence that occurred within groups and between peoples later
              such as in Egypt, Rome, Central and North America. And our current
              one.

              In regard to Cahokia, and stated beautifully by Vince Barrows in the
              post below this letter:

              ..."The selfless love of an entire civilization would be required to
              build to build the mounds at Cahokia. They account for at least 80
              million cubic feet of hard and compacted clays moved by hand into the
              position that they still stand. Invading Whitemans conquerors have
              destroyed nearly all of the mounds, however, the largest mound,now
              only 86 ft high turtle-shaped effigy called monks mound remains, with
              footpaths all over the sides."...

              Then the fine response w/discussions of regional soils, mound
              construction, stone tools in Illinois and other areas by Oz, Stan,
              Vince. And the Oculmulkee area of Georgia by Jamey, which I need to
              look up. At least half a dozen here at this small group may be asked
              if they would like direct involvement should an AAAPF conference be
              held near the Cahokia mounds.

              Other areas of interest may also open up, such as in Tenn-Ky (with
              TASK, Jamey, and Native groups at the forefront w/scientific
              investigation with Melissa, her family, and possibly Larry from the
              PreColumbian Inscriptions web site who lives near Melissa's property
              in Tennessee.) Jamey, let us know and Post # soon as more information
              comes forth on the ancient Tennessee stone bird heads in the
              unexplored caves when you start fielding updates again at
              PreColumbian Inscriptions.

              No reason we couldn't set up our own table w/giant N. American and
              World Map w/ancient waterways for people to come over to show us the
              present-day and shorelines, etc. where they live or travel.
              Photographs taking us along deep ravines, waterfall, lakes and seas,
              such as Marti's slide shows. Desert areas which have come about
              because of giant dams, drought, climactic changes.

              I get ADD when more than one post posts at this site at a time, but
              no pressure to directly post. Am just musing here, as Mike White
              says...

              Thanks to all at this group,

              Susan English

              --- In ancient_waterways_society@yahoogroups.com, Vincent Barrows
              <v_barrows@...> wrote:
              >
              > One possible explanation for building the mounds at Cahokia is that
              the mounds were built in patterns that were seen in the star world
              and that they were mythological. Sandstone carvings on the mounds do
              tie in closely with constellations as well as mythological stories
              and legends. The mounds forming cahokia mounds are very similar to
              the constellation called "Aquila". Ocmulgee straight lines may
              represent the milky way, constellations, a pathway to heaven. or
              other concepts.
              >
              > The selfless love of an entire civilization would be required to
              build the mounds at Cahokia. They account for at least 80 million
              cubic feet of hard and compacted clays moved by hand into the
              position that they still stand. Invading Whitemans conquerors have
              destroyed nearly all of the mounds, however, the largest mound,now
              only 86 ft high turtle-shaped effigy called monks mound remains, with
              footpaths all over the sides.
              >
              > The turtle is connected throughout the country in mythological
              stories in a creation myth that is called Nanabozho. The turtle is
              also the foundation of the earth, according to many native american
              myths and legends.
              >
              > We now have ATVs ruining the remaining few mounds at Cahokia, as
              can be seen in Satellite images including google earth. And they will
              be destroyed unless someone takes action. I was booted out of
              the "volunteer" group for even raising the issue.
              >
              > Vince Barrows
              >
              > Rick Osmon <ozman@...> wrote:
              > Stan,
              >
              > I have to agree with the author, water-logged soil is the most
              obvious
              > logical explanation for much of Illinois, though other, perhaps
              better
              > reasons could certainly exist. I am not familiar with the topography
              > of Ocumulgee, but most of Illinois has been under my tires or boots.
              > Much of Illinois is prone to flooding to one degree or another. So
              is
              > the southern part of Indiana, for that matter. I have to laugh when
              > ever I read that perennial question / observation "But why the
              mounds
              > were built in the first place remains a mystery". If you slogged
              > through the river bottoms around here at any time, you would learn
              the
              > value of having one dry spot...or a whole series of them.
              >
              > Not all mounds were burial places and not all mounds were ceremonial
              > or huge. Some were just the right size to set up camp for a hunting
              or
              > fishing party. The latter type (in my area, at least) once had
              > abundant flakes but very few whole points. In the western half of
              this
              > county (Daviess) there are also many, many features that the
              > geologists call "sand blows". These are low to medium ground
              features
              > where a pile of sand or sand / silt mix sits on top of alluvial
              fill.
              > The pros attribute it to seismic activity called liquification,
              where
              > very wet sand "boils" out of the underlying soil during a seismic
              > event. Regardless of the cause, they are almost always good for a
              few
              > flakes.
              >
              > Also, one thing that is often overlooked is that the water table of
              > the entire Mississippi basin was quite a bit higher (as much as 15
              > feet) just two hundred years ago and the floods were more regular
              and
              > more consistent in depth and duration. The Big Muddy "channel" was
              > also nearly impassable with snags, even for canoes. At the time
              > Cahokia was built, the flood waters might have occasionally lapped
              > around its base.
              >
              > On the other hand, it may have nothing at all to do with water. We
              > don't know whether the author's observation was while the "furrows"
              > were in active use or after years of erosion. We also don't know how
              > wide each row was, only the distance between them. A raised bed of
              20
              > centimeters (about 10 inches) is enough to lessen back strain, but
              > higher is better. Raised bed gardening is definitely much easier on
              > the body that traditional European style. Water filled furrows
              between
              > raised beds would be problematic for the people tending that garden.
              > Half a meter (20 inches) between the rows is just right for setting
              > down you gathering basket.
              >
              > Oz
              >
              > --- In ancient_waterways_society@yahoogroups.com, "minnesotastan"
              > <minnesotastan@> wrote:
              > >
              > > Dr. Clark's post #125 included the following -
              > >
              > > "At Ocumulgee and two sites in Illinois archaeologists have found
              > > evidence of agricultural fields in which the topsoil was heaped up
              > > into parallel ridges. At Ocmulgee these ridges were about 20
              > > centimeters high and 30 to 50 centimeters apart. The advantages of
              > > this type of cultivation are not well understood. One possibility
              is
              > > that it may have been an adaptation to water-logged soil."
              > > Southeastern Indians, by Charles Hudson (1976),page 298
              > >
              > > I have a possible explanation. The technique of planting on ridges
              > > alternating with water-filled furrows was developed in ancient
              times
              > > in either Mesoamerica or South America (I can't remember the
              cultural
              > > affiliation) as a way to enhance agricultural productivity,
              especially
              > > in high-altitude sites with cold nights. The water in the furrows
              > > acts as a thermal buffer during the nights, preventing frost from
              > > damaging young plants and thereby extending the growing season.
              > >
              > > Illinois is not at altitude, but is far enough north that such an
              > > adaptation might allow corn, potatoes, etc to be planted in March
              > > rather than in April etc.
              > >
              > > Just a thought. Others may wish to add or correct...
              > >
              > > Stan
              > >
              >
              >
              >
              >
              >
              >
              > ---------------------------------
              > Everyone is raving about the all-new Yahoo! Mail beta.
              >
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