The Interstate 69 Project
Generation of an Archaeological Synthesis
John R. Underwood, James H. Turner, and Kevin L. Bruce
The Interstate 69 (I-69) proposed project corridor crosses the northwestern quarter of the state of Mississippi, a region better known to residents of the Southeast as the Mississippi Delta. The Phase I cultural resources survey of this project was conducted in 2002 and 2003 by Coastal Environments, Inc. (CEI), under contract to Neel-Schaffer, Inc., and the Mississippi Department of Transportation (MDOT). Dozens of previously recorded cultural resources were relocated, and hundreds of unrecorded cultural resources were identified, a substantial number of which were determined potentially eligible for the National Register of Historic Places (NRHP). Given the volume of significant resources that may be impacted and therefore require data recovery/mitigation, archaeologists from the Cobb Institute of Archaeology at Mississippi State University (MSU) and MDOT proposed creation of an up-to-date regional environmental and archaeological synthesis to help streamline the Phase III cultural resources management (CRM) process and direct new research. This chapter is devoted to discussing the near-completion and potential of this study.
The portion of the I-69 project corridor that crosses northwest Mississippi constitutes less than 10 percent of the project corridor's total length. This approximately 1,600-mile national highway project extends from the Canadian border and passes through 11 states (Arkansas, Indiana, Kentucky, Illinois, Louisiana, Michigan, Missouri, Ohio, Mississippi, Tennessee, and Texas) en route to its terminus at the Mexican border in the lower Rio Grande valley of southwest Texas (Federal Highway Administration [FHWA] 2001) (Figure 2.1). The