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Undiscovered burial mounds may abound in Iowa national park

Officials at Effigy Mounds National Monument in Iowa say new American Indian burial mounds could still be discovered after 70 years of numerous archaeological investigations.

Undiscovered burial mounds may abound in Iowa national park
The Effigy Mounds National Monument of Iowa, are a group of more than 200 mounds that Native Americans
 hold sacred [Credit: National Park Service]
Biotechnicians stumbled on a new mound last summer as they were tending to plants at the park in Harper's Ferry, the Telegraph Herald reported. Effigy Mounds cultural resources program manager Albert LeBeau said the mound had been hidden by fallen trees in a heavily wooded area.

"They literally tripped over it," LeBeau said.

Park Superintendent Jim Nepstad said the find was "exciting" and "sobering to some degree."

"The fact that there can be very important resources out there still waiting to be identified emphasizes how careful we need to be with park development," he said. "It's a reminder that we don't know everything, and there are discoveries out there still to be found, and that's an exciting thing."

Park officials said there is no way to estimate how many more burial mounds could be found in the future.

Undiscovered burial mounds may abound in Iowa national park
Paul and Sue Schramm of Dyersville hike at Effigy Mounds National Monument. The National Park Service 
approved illegal projects at the sacred Indian burial sites [Credit: AP]
LeBeau said park staff hasn't confirmed the presence of burial remains, but is treating the mound as such because of its location and configuration. It lies in the northeast portion of the more than 2,500-acre park.

"It really isn't on a landform where I'd expect to find a mound . because it was on a low terrace away from a water source," LeBeau said.

A geophysical survey of the site is scheduled for this summer.

"We're looking forward to working with them to determine if, in fact, it is part of the mound system there," said William Quackenbush, historic preservation officer for the Ho-Chunk Nation of Wisconsin.

The national park was established in 1949. More than 200 burial mounds have been discovered.

Source: The Associated Press [May 19, 2016]

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