Geophysical Evaluation of the Richland and Holloway Mounds, Southeastern Louisiana, USA

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The Mississippi River Valley contains some of the earliest records of Native American earthwork construction, extending back ∼6000 years. Louisiana contains over 700 mounds of cultural significance, most of which have not been examined, leaving significant gaps in our understanding of mound usage in this region. Using geophysical techniques, including magnetic susceptibility (MS) and electrical resistivity, the Richland (16WF183) and Holloway (16TA32) Mounds were examined for anomalies or subsurface features. Based on sediment coring and electrical resistivity profiling across the surface, MS and apparent resistivity (ρa) data are well correlated within each mound, and anomalous ρa zones were identified. The Richland and Holloway Mounds differ markedly in the preserved magnetic features: Richland contained an extensive anomalous area, while Holloway contained two distinct and isolated anomalies. Overall morphology and mound preservation, combined with ρa and MS data, suggest a potential burial or remnants of a burial within Holloway. Richland did not contain evidence of subsurface archaeological material, although there may be fired horizons at depth. A combination of minimally destructive and noninvasive geoarchaeological techniques permitted characterization of these sites without significantly altering site context, expanding upon the limited description of mounds in Louisiana, and provides a framework for future studies at these sites. © 2014 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

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