Newspaper article Charleston Gazette Mail

TV Show to Look at Burial Mound ; Intrigue, Skepticism Swirl around Ancient Aliens Plan to Film at Shawnee Park

Newspaper article Charleston Gazette Mail

TV Show to Look at Burial Mound ; Intrigue, Skepticism Swirl around Ancient Aliens Plan to Film at Shawnee Park

Article excerpt

The Indian burial mounds in Kanawha County have seen the full course of archaeological research. They have been documented, excavated and studied. But to date, they've never been explored by a ground-penetrating radar camera.

The makers of "Ancient Aliens," a television show on The History Channel, are planning to change that.

The show will be coming to Dunbar on Jan. 29 to explore the historic mound, sometimes known as the "Poorhouse mound," in Shawnee Park.

Jeff Hutchinson, director of the Kanawha County Parks and Recreation Commission, and Dunbar Mayor Terry Greenlee are working to accommodate the show. They hope that it will bring some positive attention to the mounds.

"I'm hoping it's more of a history thing than a mockery, Greenlee said. "I guess we'll find out.

The show has a history of making dubious claims about historical events and artifacts. It is not known what claim, if any, they plan to make about the Dunbar mound.

But based on the name of the show and an idea of what it's about, retired archaeologist Darla Spencer, who lives in Charleston, is wary.

"When they did the excavating in the 1880s they thought the Native Americans were not capable of this," Spencer said. "To me, this is a step backward."

Joe Candillo, who has a PhD in indigenous studies and is a member of the Pascua Yaqui tribe, agreed.

"This fantasy, this idea that aliens came to this planet and showed indigenous people how to construct mounds, it is far- fetched, Candillo said.

Candillo said that there was a myth about the star people in his tribe and in many tribes of the southwest, but that the claim that aliens built the mounds is associated with the idea that Native Americans weren't intelligent enough to construct them on their own.

The Shawnee Park mound was one of 50 earthen mounds in the Kanawha Valley and was built by people from the Adena culture. Only a few of those mounds still remain.

While there isn't much known about the tribe's religious thoughts or rituals, archaeologists believe that the people who were buried in the mounds were people of status.

"They obviously honored these people to go through so much trouble to preserve them," Spencer said. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.