Note: This is an online offering that takes place via Zoom. Please ensure that you have access to an internet capable device. Eighteenth and Nineteenth Century settlers in the Ohio Valley were struck by the presence of earthen mounds standing as tall as 70 feet and earthen circles, squares and octagons covering areas up to four square miles. Unable to identify the builders of these spaces, fanciful theories were proposed attributing them to the Lost Tribes of Israel or members of Hernando de Soto’s expedition. These “explanations” share one common thread: Each is grounded in ethnocentric and racist ideas of their time regarding the intellectual capabilities of the Native American builders. Professor Bernhardt will share his experiences in Moundbuilder Archaeology, examining early speculation and how archaeology evolved from antiquarian hobby to sophisticated modern science.
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