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The state of Louisiana is famous for the abundance of mounds created once by Native Americans. From their appearance, it is difficult to guess that these are man-made structures, since they look like ordinary hills about 6 meters high, covered with grass. But underneath the green vegetation is a mound built from layers of mud, ash and clay. Two such mounds are located near Louisiana State University (LSU) in Baton Rouge. The fact that the mounds are ancient structures of the Indians has been known for a long time, but recently scientists decided to establish their age. They themselves were amazed by the results of the study, since these mounds turned out to be older than the Egyptian pyramids. But what exactly were they created for?
What is known about the oldest structures in the United States
According to scientists in the American Journal of Science , the study showed that the age of the oldest mound is 11,000 years. This means that it is by far the oldest man-made structure known to scientists.
To conduct the study, the authors of the work took cores from each barrow. As it turned out, the hills contain layers of clay and ash. The latter was obtained by burning reeds and animal bodies. Among the ashes, the researchers managed to find charred microscopic fragments of bones. Which animals were cremated and why, could not be established.
According to the researchers, cane is hardly suitable as a fuel for cooking. Therefore, most likely, the mounds were erected and used for religious or ceremonial purposes.
Mounds in the USA were built at different times
The most interesting thing is that the mounds were built at different times. Moreover, the difference in age is 3500 years. As we said above, the first was created 11,000 years ago, and the second – 7,500 years ago. Scientists used radiocarbon dating to determine the age.
For comparison, the oldest Egyptian pyramid, that is, the Step Pyramid of Djoser, is about 4,700 years old. By the way, scientists have recently revealed the main secret of the construction of ancient pyramids.
The history of the construction of ancient burial mounds
Having carefully studied the cores and the landscape around the mounds, scientists have recreated the chronology of their construction. Not far from the oldest structure there is a large depression in the ground. Obviously, the soil from it 11,000 years ago was used to build an embankment. For several thousand years, ancient people burned plants and animals on the hill, and then covered it with clay, as a result of which its height gradually increased and many layers formed.
Then, about 8200 years ago, this structure was abandoned. Scientists cannot name the exact reason for this. It is possible that the rapidly changing climate is to blame. According to scientists, about 8,200 years ago, the temperature in the Northern Hemisphere for some reason dropped sharply by more than 19 degrees Celsius, and remained so for about 160 years.
The team did not find any traces of human activity near this mound for the next 1,000 years. But about 7500 years ago, ancient people built a new mound at a distance of 9 meters from the old one. For its construction, mud saturated with water was used. Therefore, the embankment is still unstable, and is gradually collapsing.
It should be noted that the location of the mounds was not chosen by chance. The crests of both hills are aligned in azimuth, which is about 8.5 degrees east of north. As scientists note, about 6 thousand years ago, the star Arcturus rose about 8.5 degrees east of north. That is, the crests of the hills turned out to be in line with the brightest star at that time in the night sky.
Who could have built the barrow 11,000 years ago? As we said earlier, the ancestors of the American Indians, apparently, came from Siberia. It happened 23,000 years ago. By the time the first mound was built, they had already settled throughout the mainland, not only North, but also South America. Therefore, the very fact of the vigorous activity of people during this period of time in America is not surprising.
Finally, we note that there are a total of 800 mounds in Louisiana. True, many of them are now destroyed. Therefore, the university tries to protect these structures as much as possible. Students are urged not to walk on the embankments and not to have picnics there. In the near future, a buffer zone of plants will even be built.To Read Great Articles, Click Here Follow Us On Facebook Twitter Telegram