Oldest Known Man-Made Structures in North America Are in Louisiana
Structures believed to be the oldest in North America made by man are in Louisiana.
To be more precise: in Baton Rouge.
According to a story from The Advocate, research suggests that the mounds located on LSU's campus are the oldest known structures made by man in North America.
The mounds are believed to have been made by Native Americans thousands of years ago but are still, mostly, shrouded in mystery.
According to a story from LSU, researchers believe that the mounds were constructed around 11,000 years ago.
Research shows that one of the mounds is made mostly of clay, and the other is made of "more porous" material. Excavations at the mounds have turned up different items, including early tools and some bone fragments.
It is believed that the mounds were constructed in a way that lined them up with the brightest star in the night sky at the time they began construction.
Another interesting point to note is that the mounds, at one time, were located on the banks of the Mississippi River, and would have been prominent on the banks as seen from the river. The course of the Mississippi has changed since then which is why they are so far from the river now.
LSU has taken great lengths to protect the mounds in an effort to preserve the history and cultural significance of the structures. The mounds, officially called "The LSU Campus Mounds", have been on the National Register for Historic Places for over 20 years and are considered sacred grounds to Native Americans.
The Advocate reports that the LSU Campus Mounds are just a few of the remaining 800-some mounds that were once in Louisiana, most being lost to erosion.
Tragedy struck on one of the mounds back in 1984, before the mounds were protected, when a student ran over a coed who was sitting on one of the mounds with a friend.
According to a clipping from The Daily Review posted on the Newspapers.com website, Elizabeth Courtenay Smoak of Thibodaux was sitting on the mound with a friend when a car driven by Charles B. Mullin, Jr., struck her, killing her.
Since that incident, the mounds have been off-limits to vehicular traffic and pedestrian traffic. Due to the historical significance and the spiritual and ceremonial significance of the mounds, access is limited.
Let's hope that the efforts put forth by officials at LSU help to preserve the mounds for many years to come.