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Fw: Project seeks to spark new interest in ancient monuments

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  • John-Brian Paprock
    ... From: I.C.A.R.E. [mailto:i.c.a.r.e@earthlink.net] Project seeks to spark new interest in ancient monuments By GREG WRIGHT Gannett News Service
    Message 1 of 2 , Nov 29, 2003
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      -----Original Message-----
      From: I.C.A.R.E. [mailto:i.c.a.r.e@...]


      Project seeks to spark new interest in ancient monuments

      By GREG WRIGHT
      Gannett News Service

      http://www.lancastereaglegazette.com/news/stories/20030728/localnews/541324.
      html

      WASHINGTON -- According to a Cherokee legend, prophets long ago led the
      people.

      And the prophets would dream and ask the people to build monuments to make
      their visions reality.

      That is how as many as 10,000, massive American Indian earthworks that once
      dotted the Eastern and Southern United States and Midwest came to be, said
      Barbara Crandell, 74, Thornville.

      "Some were built for the sun and some for the moon," said Crandell, who is
      of Cherokee descent and heard the story from her mother and grandfather.
      "And some were for ceremony and for different things they did -- to bring
      good luck to them and to bring the blessings of the gods."

      The long-abandoned earthworks or mounds have fallen to encroaching cities
      and farms -- probably fewer 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 is trying 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 will 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.

      More than 2,000 years ago American Indians were building sophisticated,
      large-scale projects -- including the Great Circle 1,200 feet across and 15
      feet high in Newark, Ohio, and a giant, 1,360-foot-long Serpent Mound near
      Brush Creek in Adams County.

      Many of the structures are absolutely level and precise and are aligned with
      the cycles of the moon, Hancock said.

      Some 19th-century historians said American Indians, who then were considered
      savages, could not have built the structures. Vikings, Egyptians, lost
      sailors from Wales and even the Ten Lost Tribes of Israel were credited
      instead, Hancock said.

      Historians who reviewed the University of Cincinnati project say giving
      American Indians recognition for the work is long overdue. However, some
      American Indians say the public needs more access to actual sites,
      especially Octagon Mound that is also in Newark.

      "I'm for justice generally, and historic justice is one kind of justice,"
      said Roger Kennedy, a former National Park Service director and author of
      "Hidden Cities: The Discovery and Loss of Ancient North American
      Civilization."

      "So my interest, according to my Indian brothers and sisters, is credit for
      the wonderful thing their ancestors did," he said.

      Mound mystery

      The Ohio, Indiana and Kentucky earthworks depicted on the University of
      Cincinnati Web site were built between 600 B.C. and 1200 A.D., researchers
      said. Little is known about the builders, who now are referred to as the
      Adena, Fort Ancient and Hopewell cultures.

      These early Americans probably lived in extended family groups in small
      villages throughout the Ohio River Valley, Hancock said. For some reason
      they came together to build the earthworks, which likely were used for
      religious or civic ceremonies such as feasts and marriages.

      The earthworks also may have been used as calendars -- several sites in
      Ohio, including Serpent Mound, mark the rising and setting of the moon in
      18.6-year cycles, researchers said. And burial sites often are nearby.

      Building giant shapes by piling up earth may sound easy, but it took much
      ingenuity from people who probably used deer antlers and woven baskets to
      dig and carry millions of cubic feet of soil, said Bradley Lepper, an
      archaeologist at the Ohio Historical Society in Columbus.

      The builders also had to be organized. The mounds were built over several
      generations, Hancock said.

      Builders paid close attention to soil texture and color and knew what type
      of clay and soil to use so the earthworks would not collapse, historians
      said. For instance, a 1992 archaeological dig at the Great Circle in Newark
      found that the outside was made with dark earth while the inside was lined
      with brighter, yellow-brown clay.

      "In Native American societies, different colors have different associations
      and mean different directions," said Lepper, explaining that the different
      soil colors probably had symbolic meaning.

      Web resurrection

      The University of Cincinnati assembled a team of artists, designers,
      archaeologists, American Indians 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.

      The drawings were then converted into digital images using 3D Studio MAX
      software and put on the Web site, which offers still shots and movie
      sequences, Hancock said. Touches were added to make the images more
      realistic, including vegetation and wisps of fog that still rise from the
      Ohio River.

      "I have seen the portrayals he (Hancock) has done," said Jean McCoard,
      secretary of the Native American Alliance of Ohio in Lucasville. "I believe
      they've approached it from a very sensitive point of view. The architectural
      point of view."

      McCoard said she appreciates the effort.

      Native American history is not taught extensively in Ohio public schools.
      And the Ohio Historical Society, which owns several of the earthworks sites,
      could do a better job portraying the earthworks in museums and making them
      more widely known among state residents, said McCoard, who is of Cherokee
      descent.

      But Crandell said the University of Cincinnati Web site is sterile. The
      images show aerial shots of the earthworks and thatched huts that were near
      the sites but few try to depict the people who made them.

      "I think it's kind of flat," she said. "I mean, this is a living thing. They
      have spirit. They have character."

      American Indians

      want access

      Crandell said she was arrested, charged with criminal trespassing, and
      ordered to pay $800 in fines and court costs when she tried to enter the
      Octagon earthworks on June 26, 2002. Thanks to contributions from the
      public, she was able to pay the fines.

      The Ohio Historical Society owns the earthworks but rents the space to
      Moundbuilders Country Club for $28,000 a year, which helps pay for site
      upkeep, said George Kane, director of facilities management at the Ohio
      Historical Society.

      The Ohio Historical Society soon will release a new site use plan that will
      commit them to making the site more open, Kane said. The site now is open to
      the public only four days a year, including all day Aug. 11.

      McCoard said she is glad the Ohio Historical Society invited American
      Indians' input on the plan. But in the end, the new plan will not let
      American Indians and the rest of the public roam around the earthworks more
      often.

      One issue is safety, Lepper said. Flying golf balls could hit tourists, and
      the club has a lease for the site until 2078.

      Ironically, having a golf course near Octagon Mound for almost a century has
      helped preserve it, archaeologists said.

      But Kennedy said he wished the Newark site had more focus on history than
      recreation.

      "The golf carts should go," he said.

      Originally published Monday, July 28, 2003




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    • Barry Carroll
      this was a nice contribution. the situation at the Newark Ohio Octagon is disgusting. a private golf course has been built on the site and has existed for
      Message 2 of 2 , Nov 30, 2003
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        this was a nice contribution.
        the situation at the Newark Ohio Octagon is disgusting.
        a private golf course has been built on the site and has existed for years.
        As noted the place is hardly ever open to the public.
        this is one of the most amazing mound sites in the US.

        the state could suspend the the country club's lease any time.
        but then they would have the cost of maintaining the site.

        overall awareness of mound culture is relatively high in Ohio.
        maybe a change is coming soon.
        Barry

        At 11:37 AM 11/29/2003 -0600, you wrote:


        >-----Original Message-----
        >From: I.C.A.R.E. [mailto:i.c.a.r.e@...]
        >
        >
        >Project seeks to spark new interest in ancient monuments
        >
        >By GREG WRIGHT
        >Gannett News Service
        >
        >http://www.lancastereaglegazette.com/news/stories/20030728/localnews/541324.
        >html
        >
        >WASHINGTON -- According to a Cherokee legend, prophets long ago led the
        >people.
        >
        >And the prophets would dream and ask the people to build monuments to make
        >their visions reality.
        >
        >That is how as many as 10,000, massive American Indian earthworks that once
        >dotted the Eastern and Southern United States and Midwest came to be, said
        >Barbara Crandell, 74, Thornville.
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