Monday, August 27, 2007


Volunteers help protect prehistoric American mounds

The Missouri Mound Adoption Project (MO-MAP) founded recently in Chesterfield, Missouri hopes to use a coalition of volunteers to protect Missouri's remaining prehistoric Native American mounds. "We may not be able to save every one of Missouri's remaining prehistoric Native American mounds, but with volunteers, we can try to save one at a time," said Mark Leach of Chesterfield, a trustee of the Missouri Archaeological Society and a member of the Chesterfield Landmarks Preservation Commission.

There are no dues or regular meetings to be part of MO-MAP. For more information, contact Mark Leach at (314) 313-5715, or visit the Web site

MO-MAP builds on the traditional approach to mound protection -- keeping mound locations confidential, documenting them with state authorities and ensuring protection provided under Missouri's unmarked human burial law, he said. The new group's genesis began
with a recent experience involving a group of 11 possible mounds in Chesterfield that were endangered by a proposed road project. "Thick foliage has allowed these mounds to remain virtually undetected by the public, even though they are surrounded by schools and
subdivisions," Leach said. "We were pleased to note no fresh signs of
looting at any of the mounds," he said.
Leach said there are simply too many mounds, rock shelters and other sites for
professional archaeologists to monitor. "Therefore, one by one, many of these sites are being lost," Leach said. MO-MAP has one nonprofessional volunteer watching over one
mound, under the guidance of professional archaeologists.
Joe Harl, an archaeologist with the Archaeological Research Center of St. Louis, praised the new group. "This is a great way for the public to help protect our cultural heritage," he said. "Future generations will be grateful for what volunteers do today."
Ironically, in the 18th century St. Louis was called "Mound City." For more information on Mounds of the American Mid-West check out my book, written with Professor Tim Pauketat called Cahokia Mounds. Published by Oxford University Press and availble on Amazon. com


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