Archeologists study possible Indian burial mounds - wave3.com-Louisville News, Weather & Sports

Archeologists study possible Indian burial mounds

FRANKLIN, TN (WSMV) -

There's talk of a new state park in Franklin and it has nothing to do with the Civil War.

The idea of a Glass Mounds park has been a dream for many the past decade. Now the Tennessee State Archeology Division is involved, telling everyone this is an amazing Indian graveyard worth saving forever.

The Glass Mounds date to 500 A.D. and served as a cemetery for Woodland Indians. They are on a giant hill sandwiched between fancy Williamson County homes and a golf course - an unlikely survivor for 1,500 years.

"This is the first modern excavation that's looked at these mounds," said Aaron Deter-Wolf, a state archeologist. "It's a part of Tennessee archeology history we don't know a lot about it."

The Smithsonian came here once in 1875 and Harvard University sent a team, but it's this dig conducted by state archeologist Aaron Deter-Wolf that might be the most important.

If the team can prove that the original burial mound is intact, then this could go on the National Register of Historic Places and be headed toward becoming a permanent park.

Two years ago you couldn't see the mounds because there was so much growth grown up.

Mark Tolley and the Tennessee Ancient Sites Conservancy have been working on the mounds on weekends for two years.

"Last year we cut 60 or 70 years of growth off of them," said Tolley. "This year we've cut six months and we thought 'Wow, these things are huge.'"

The Southern Land Company and the Westhaven community have kept their word, working around these two ancient cemeteries with the visionary idea that one day Tennesseans might walk and learn in the Glass Mounds graveyard.

"This is a sacred place. Then it's a place for the Indian community and everybody else to learn about the history here," said Toye Heape, with the Alliance for Native American Rights.

There is no timetable on creating the park. State archeology must test everything and then submit it to the federal government. The best thing about the process is that Southern Land Company is on board however long it takes.

Copyright 2013 WSMV (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.

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