County to pay for study of site

Published 12:00 am Monday, December 6, 1999

Development at the Foster Mound industrial site could face delays if an archeologist brought in to survey the property finds evidence of historical significance.

Adams County supervisors voted Monday to approve a &uot;level one&uot; archeological survey of the Foster Mound property in response to a letter from the Mississippi Department of Archives and History.

&uot;We’ve been asked to perform a level one reconnaissance of 10 acres of the property,&uot; said Roy Geoghegan, planner with the Southwest Mississippi Planning and Development District.

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&uot;In general terms, a level one survey is the least intrusive method of investigation of a property,&uot; Geoghegan said.

Preliminary cost estimates show that the survey should cost just under $1,000, he said.

During the survey, an archeology team will dig to depths of 100 feet, to assure that no significant historical material is damaged by construction on the land.

&uot;I will be surprised if there are any artifacts found there,&uot; said Virginia Salmon, president of the Adams County Board of Supervisors.

For many years, the land was used by Mississippi State University for an agricultural experiment station, Salmon said.

&uot;That land was tilled,&uot; she said.

Geoghegan is contacting a list of local archeologists for quotes on the service. Once an archeologist is selected, he should receive a verbal report in a week’s time and a complete written report after that.

&uot;Hopefully, we’ll be in good shape,&uot; Geoghegan said.

Board attorney Marion Smith said the area has historical connections.

&uot;That was the old White Apple site,&uot; Smith said. &uot;It was the home of the tattooed serpent, nephew of the Sun King.&uot;

This would make the site a significant one for the now-extinct Natchez Indian tribe.

If historical artifacts are discovered at the Foster Mound site, Geoghegan said a level two survey would be ordered, possibly taking months to complete.

&uot;Archeologists think the Foster Mound site corresponds to the White Apple site,&uot; said Jim Barnett, director of the Historic Properties Division of the Mississippi Department of Archives and History.

&uot;Normally, if public funds are used in any construction, the state and federal antiquities laws come into play,&uot; Barnett said.

&uot;I’m glad to hear they’re surveying the site.&uot;

The level one survey will help to determine what of historical significance is there, Barnett said, and then excavation can preserve the historical artifacts and allow the development of the property to continue.

&uot;I’m not sure it’s been surveyed before,&uot; Barnett said. &uot;They may find artifacts that predate the Natchez Indians.&uot;

Since the Natchez Indians used the mounds as ceremonial centers rather than dwellings, Barnett said the likelihood of finding Natchez Indian relics may be slim.

The survey will allow history its due without greatly impeding progress, he said.