Dr. Jay Johnson, Professor of Anthropology, is currently conducting research on the northern portion of what will be the new Mississippi Mounds Trail. The Mississippi Department of Archives and History describes work on the 350 mile trail as a project “to help interpret and preserve the prehistoric earthworks, educate the public about Mississippi’s rich Native American history, and promote heritage tourism.” The trail runs from Desoto County to Wilkinson County, following the Highway 61 corridor and highlighting at least thirty earthworks built by prehistoric American Indian groups.
Dr. Johnson, along with students from the University of Mississippi, spent the summer conducting field investigations and geophysical surveys. Students involved in the Center for Archaeological Research’s Summer Field School also had the opportunity to do test excavations at various mounds trail sites. The work, currently in Phase 2, involves excavations and supplementary investigations (mapping, augering, coring, remote sensing, etc.) on archaeological sites that will be part of the Mississippi Mound Trail. The trail is expected to be complete in Fall 2014.