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LSU campus Native American Mound

Are the 11,300-Year-Old LSU Mounds the US Göbekli Tepe?

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A North American scientist has claimed that a group of ancient mounds are among the oldest structures in North America.

The Native American mounds on Louisiana State University campus, officially known as the LSU Mounds, are among the institutions most iconic landmarks and they have captivated the minds and hearts of students and the feet of spectators for several generations. They are even a central feature in local folklore.

This week, The Baton Rouge Advocate published an almost, maybe incredible, article about an LSU Geology Professor, Brooks Ellwood, who believes the campus mounds are thousands of years older than currently believed. The professor directly challenges the mainstream story that the mounds date to around 6,100 years ago and Advocate staff writer Youssef Rddad states, that based on the material he found inside the mounds “Ellwood now estimates [the mounds are] about 11,300 years old”.




The LSU Mounds Are Three Times Older Than Stonehenge and the Pyramids

It is generally agreed among archaeologists that the mounds were an ancient meeting point where information and resources were traded among tribes that once inhabited the area. But if Dr. Ellwood is right, then the LSU Mounds were constructed over 7,000 years before Stonehenge in England and the Great Pyramid of Egypt. And Rddad describes them as, the oldest man-made structures in the Western Hemisphere, and possibly the world”.

According to the LSU website, it is likely that “6,000 years ago” people lived in scattered bands of 50 to 200 folks who would converge at the mound site to “exchange information, catch up with friends, trade, perform rituals necessary to the maintenance of the group, and maybe, most importantly, choose a mate from outside the band”. And in 2010, the University s Save the Mounds” campaign erected temporary chain-link fences around the mounds and put up a handful of small signs and other subtle deterrents, but a permanent solution is being sought to stop people from using the mounds, particularly on game days.

Efforts have been made to protect the LSU Mounds from being used

Efforts have been made to protect the LSU Mounds from being used. (Nowhereman86 / Public Domain)

Humans Remains Discovered at the LSU Mounds

According to an article in IFL Science, Dr. Ellwood has a distinguished career with hundreds of published papers relating to “deep geologic time”, but his examination of ash samples from the Louisiana mounds revealed “tiny bone fragments, possibly human in origin”. Encased in reed and cane materials that had been burnt with the human bones, Dr. Ellwood argues that Native Americans used neither of the two materials for cooking as they burn at too high a temperature, and therefore, “the only logical thing that it could have been used for is for human beings,” Ellwood told The Baton Rouge Advocate.

Ellwood’s shocking claims have been presented in a paper for peer review and his colleagues are “cautious” about commenting on his huge assertion until it has been “rubber stamped”. Furthermore, according to the IFL Science article, approval might be required from native leaders for further testing that might “prove or disprove his theories”.

A Sister Site Of Göbekli Tepe?

If Ellwood is proven right, however, and the LSU Mounds are indeed 11,300 years old, then they are contemporaneous with Göbekli Tepe, located six miles from Urfa, an ancient city in southeastern Turkey. According to Smithsonian Magazine, this massive carved stone temple dating to about 11,000 years ago was built by prehistoric “hunter-gatherer-builders” who had not yet developed metal tools or even pottery.

Dr. Ellwood believes the LSU Mounds existed at the same time as the Göbekli Tepe

Dr. Ellwood believes the LSU Mounds existed at the same time as the Göbekli Tepe. (Teomancimit / CC BY-SA 3.0)

Scholars had long believed that only after people farmed in settled communities did they begin constructing temples for worshiping, but it appears that at least in Turkey, this happened the other way around and this raises the possibility that the complex social effort required to build such monoliths might have “laid the groundwork for the development of complex societies”.

And this is where Dr. Ellwood will struggle to convince his peers, because if America’s LSU Mounds are 11,300 years old, then they were, like Göbekli Tepe, built to last a seriously long time and resisted over 11,000 years of extremely changing environmental circumstances. And this would have been achieved long before metal tools or any engineering skills, raising the question, how on earth did an ancient American culture build something so durable?

LSU Mounds

LSU Mounds. (Spatms / CC BY-SA 3.0)

Göbekli Tepe USA? Or A Whimsical Grasp At Straws?

Dr. Ellwood is not the only researcher out to cause problems for mainstream science as, upon publication in April last year, Graham Hancock’s last book, America Before, became an instant New York Times Bestseller. Building on his lifelong theory that an advanced civilization was lost to history after a global cataclysm ended the last ice age, Hancock now claims the Americas were first peopled more than “130,000 years ago,” challenging, by almost 10 times, the 13,500 years maintained by traditional archaeologists who protect the mainstream story of America’s population, for dear life.

Perhaps Dr. Ellwood also has a ‘purpose’ for his claim, maybe a grant fund or simply for kudos among his peers. Or maybe he has indeed discovered tangible, dateable evidence of what would be to America nothing less than what finding the Holy Grail sitting at the back of a church shelf would mean to the Vatican. Right under everyone’s nose - Göbekli Tepe USA.

Top image: LSU campus Native American Mound. Source: Spatms / CC BY-SA 3.0.

By Ashley Cowie



AJ Perko's picture

Prior to 1920 or so this would have been another likely burial sight for the race of Giants that commonly found throughout the United States, documented hundreds of times in easily verifiable newspapers of the day, and even mentioned by President Lincoln as "that race of long extinct giants buried in the mounds across our country".
It's amazing in and of itself, something considered common knowledge only 100 years ago and looked at as backpage news now seems fascinatingly far fetched... if not disturbing at how easy it is to manipulate history and pretend those 1000's of newspaper articles, pictures and first hand accounts never actually happened


Gary Moran's picture

The scapulas of various large animals have been used for shovels by people for a long long time. Lots of other monuments were created that way, as far as we know.

ashley cowie's picture


Ashley is a Scottish historian, author, and documentary filmmaker presenting original perspectives on historical problems in accessible and exciting ways.

He was raised in Wick, a small fishing village in the county of Caithness on the north east coast of... Read More

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