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Student Activities:

1. At the end the author claims that ʺNo such Indian settlements as we have knowledge of could have built them.ʺ What evidence does he or she give to support this claim?

  • 2.

    What reasons does the author give for the mounds originally being twice as tall?

  • 3.

    On page one the author correctly says that modern Indians ʺclaimed to know nothing of

their building nor of their builders.ʺ From this fact he or she infers that ancestors of modern Indians were not the mound builders. What is wrong with this logic? What explanations for Indians silence on this topic does it overlook?

4. Even today, some people claim that the Wisconsin mounds were built by Viking explorers or by alien visitors from space (really). What kinds of evidence would you want to see before believing those claims? Make a list of types of evidence.

5. Increase Laphamʹs conclusion in 1855 was that it is not unlikely that ancestors of contemporary Indians built the mounds (p. 89 of his book cited above). What reasons does he give to support this conclusion? Restate them in your own words.

6. The author of the 1906 article mentions several times that mounds are being destroyed by farmersʹ plows and other modern developments. Should they be preserved? Why do you think that? List your reasons in statements beginning with the word ʺBecause...ʺ

7. Are there any limits that should be placed on the governmentʹs power to preserve archaeological sites? For example, should it be able to seize private property from owners to protect them, or jail violators of mound preservation laws? Why or why not?

9. In the 19th c., archaeologists thought it was appropriate to open up the mounds. Today we think that’s disrespectful or even sacrilegious. What assumptions must they have made about Indians, graves, science, and religion, to think it was acceptable to dig up mounds?

10. When scientific research collides with moral values or religious beliefs, as in human cloning or stem cell research, how do you think the conflict should be resolved? Why?

8th Grade Standards Addressed: 8.1, 8.9, 8.10, 8.11

12th Grade Standards Addressed: 12.1, 12.2, 12.9, 12.12


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