LSU Campus Home To Oldest Manmade Structures In America
Ever gone to the Louisiana State University campus in Baton Rouge to tail-gate before a football game and saw the two huge rolling mounds on the campus that appear totally out of place?
Actually, those mounds were there first, so it could be argued that it's the LSU campus that's out of place.
But, not only were those mounds here before the campus, they were here long before Columbus discovered the Americas in 1492. They were here before Jesus walked the Earth. In fact, archaeological testing has shown these mounds to date back as far as 11,000 years, making them the oldest known man made structures on the entire North American continent.
The two large, grassy mounds that are about 20 feet tall, on LSU’s campus, are among the more than 800 man-made, hill-like mounds in Louisiana, built by ancient indigenous people. While many mounds in the region have been destroyed, the LSU Campus Mounds have been preserved and are listed on the National Register for Historic Places.
Speaking to the Louisiana Radio Network on the findings of the research, LSU Geology and Geophysics Professor Emeritus Brooks Ellwood is inclined to believe the mounds on the LSU campus were a cremation site.
These Mounds Were Used For A Span Of About 5,000 Years
Studying the sediment from the base of the mounds, the material was determined to be ash from burned reed and cane plants along with charred microscopic bone fragments and radiocarbon dating samples indicate the beginning of the construction of the mounds occurred 11,000 years ago. Ellwood said, "And the dates that we have and we have quite a number of them and the oldest is at the base of one of the mounds…as it gets higher, it gets younger.”
Though scientists don't speculate what type of mammals were cremated or why, they do feel that burning reed and cane plants to make large, hot fires that would have been too hot for cooking, so the mounds must have been ceremonial.
As Ellwood indicated, the farther up the mound that samples were taken, the more recent the material was dated and all indications are that the construction of the mounds ended approximately 6,000 years ago.
It Got Extremely Cold In Louisiana About 8,000 Years Ago
The same research also showed other incredible findings like:
Tree roots found in the 8,200-year-old sediment layer indicate that the mound was not used for about 1,000 years. Also around 8,200 years ago, the northern hemisphere experienced a major climate event with temperatures suddenly dropping on average by about 35 degrees Fahrenheit, which lasted about 160 years.
“We don’t know why they abandoned the mounds around 8,200 years ago, but we do know their environment changed suddenly and dramatically, which may have affected many aspects of their daily life,” Ellwood said.
Read more about this amazing research and LSU's analysis of the data in the study HERE