News FocusArchaeology

Preserving History, One Hill at a Time

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Science  23 Dec 2011:
Vol. 334, Issue 6063, pp. 1623
DOI: 10.1126/science.334.6063.1623

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A handful of scientists are scrambling to preserve what they can of pre-Columbian North American mounds. Most are visible only as earthen hills and are not protected by state or federal laws because they are on private land. From the mean streets of East St. Louis to the insect-filled bayous of the lower Mississippi River, archaeologists find themselves acting as educators, diplomats, and, sometimes, real estate agents to prevent further destruction of structures that hold vital clues to ancient Native American society (see main text).