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Mapping the Internal Structure of Hopewell Tumuli in the Lower Illinois River Valley through Archaeological Geophysics

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  16 January 2017

Jason T. Herrmann
Institut für die Kulturen des Alten Orients, Eberhard Karls Universität Tübingen, Burgsteige 11, 72070 Tübingen, Germany (
Jason L. King
Center for American Archeology, P.O. Box 366, Kampsville, Illinois 62053, USA (
Jane E. Buikstra
School of Human Evolution and Social Change, Arizona State University Tempe, Arizona 85287-2402, USA (


Archaeologists from the Center for American Archeology (CAA) in Kampsville, Illinois, are engaged in a program to test the potential for ground-penetrating radar (GPR) and electrical resistance tomography (ERT) to effectively document the internal structure of a variety of Middle (ca.2200–1550 B.P.) and Late Woodland (ca.1550–950 B.P.) mounds in the Lower Illinois River Valley (LIV). This project, embedded within ongoing CAA regional research efforts and the Arizona State University Kampsville Field School, demonstrates that both GPR and ERT permit the identification and measurement of significant internal mound structures. Key structural elements can be confidently identified in the geophysical data from the five test mounds, and excavation results can be conclusively linked with results of excavation in mounds that have been tested. This study opens the way for the development of a set of procedures for a regional research initiative in the LIV to understand structural variation between Middle and Late Woodland mounds using ground-based remote sensing methods as a primary source of data and thus minimizing invasive and destructive investigation techniques.

Arqueólogos del Centro para Arqueología Americana (CAA) en Kampsville, Illinois se están dedicando a un programa para probar el potencial de usar georadar (GPR) y tomografía de resistividad eléctrica (ERT) para documentar con eficiencia la estructura interna de una variedad de montículos en el Valle del Rio Illinois Bajo (LIV) de los periodos Woodland Medio (ca.2200–1550 BP) y Tardío (ca.1550–950 a.P.). Este proyecto-integrado con esfuerzos regionales todavía en curso del CAA, y con la escuela de campo en Kampsville de la Universidad Estatal de Arizona-demuestra que el GPR y la ERT ambos permiten la identificación y medida de estructuras internas significantes de montículos. Elementos estructurales importantes pueden ser identificados con confianza en los datos geofísicos de los cinco montículos de prueba, y los resultados de las excavaciones de estos pueden ser vinculados con certeza con los resultados geofísicos de los mismos montículos. Este estudio abre paso para el desarrollo de una serie de procedimientos para un iniciativo de investigación regional en el LIV para entender la variación estructural entre montículos de los periodos Woodland Medio y Tardío usando métodos de teledetección terrestres como una fuente primaria de datos, así minimizando el uso de técnicas de investigación invasivas y destructivas.

Research Article
Copyright © Society for American Archaeology 2014

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