Research Projects

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Ground Penetrating Radar

Ground Penetrating Radar Investigation of Potential Native American Burial Mounds, Fort McCoy, Wisconsin.

Abstract

The results of a ground penetrating radar (GPR) investigation is to determine the origin of Mound B, one of thirteen, low, conical mounds located within Fort McCoy, Monroe County, Wisconsin. Historically, these mounds have been catalogued as preColumbian burial mounds even though cultural material has not been recovered from them. Despite this, and recent geomorphic research which questions their cultural origin, Federal regulations prohibit the disturbance of these mounds. Therefore, GPR, a non-invasive means to investigate the near-subsurface was chosen to determine the origin of Mound B. The morphology, topographic position, and geomorphic setting of Mound B is similar to that of the other thirteen mounds. High-resolution (200 MHz antennae) GPR data was collected to observe sedimentary characteristics within and below Mound B to depths ranging from 3-5 m. GPR data was collected in a grid pattern (19.75 m by 20.5 m, with 0.25 m separation), and then displayed for analysis using 3-D software (Slicer). GPR data reveal a sequence of horizontally- oriented, variously cross-bedded (low-angle), lenticular beds (3-5 m thick) within and adjacent to Mound B. This bedding pattern supports the interpretation that the mounds are the result of slopewash aggradation. However, this pattern becomes less uniform and more disturbed in the mound center where subsurface radar patterns of unknown origin are observed. Further investigation is warranted to identify the unknown subsurface patterns in the mound center.

 

Techniques for Mapping Mound B

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