The 2,000 Year Old American Indian Mounds of Tennessee

Mark Tolley stands on Westhaven mound one.

The 2,000 Year Old American Indian Mounds of Tennessee

A great article in The Tennessean highlights the state’s incredible mounds, created two thousand years ago in the current Westhaven community.

“In 1 A.D. the Westhaven community in Franklin was a lush, expansive environment, filled with buffalo, deer, fish and clean water. It was also inhabited by a large primitive tribe, whose name and history were lost long ago,” writes The Tennessean‘s Helen Meely. “However, Westhaven was left an ancient reminder that they were here. The community has two huge burial mounds, which at the moment are covered in brush and excessive plant life.”

Harvard University’s Peabody Museum carved tunnels through these mounds between 1875 and 1878 in an effort to remove precious artifacts, explained Mark M. Tolley of the Tennessee Ancient Sites Conservancy.

Tolley, a Tennessee Indian site archeologist, and Toye Heate, a former president of the Alliance for Native American Indian Rights and former state commissioner of Indian Affairs, have attempted to preserve Tennessee state heritage, by working closely with a dedicated group of volunteers from Franklin, Nashville and the Westhaven community on these two mounds.

The team the two men have formed have been “patiently clearing away debris and underbrush to expose the stunning mounds for all to see,” Meeley writes. “These dedicated volunteers have been doing an excellent job; however, there is still much to be done. If you are interested in helping, contact Mark at tolleymm@yahoo.com.”

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