Revisiting the Mound-Builder Controversy
Thomas S. Garlinghouse discusses the slow acceptance of archaeological evidence for sophisticated civilisation in pre-Columbian North America
The great earthen mounds are silent now, remnants of a past, forgotten glory. Seemingly rooted to the earth like the acts of supernatural beings, immovable on the North American landscape, they are covered over with grass and scattered here and there with trees, weeds, and shrubs. Many have suffered from the vagaries of time, cut into by ploughs, looted by shovels and picks, scarred by centuries of livestock grazing and obliterated by modern development. Major highways and interstates cut through many of them and passing motorists rarely look up from the road to ponder the mounds’ ancient significance.