Proposal for Surveying Indian Mounds at Edgewood College

Proposal for Surveying Indian Mounds at Edgewood College

(Beginning in the fall of 2018)

By: James P. Scherz and Chris Tyler, 18 Oct., 2018

Executive Summary:

This is a proposal to survey the earthworks on the campus of Edgewood College using accurate field methods developed by surveying students from U. W. Madison, and by volunteers from the Ancient Earthworks Society (AES) over the past 30 years. These techniques were developed in the 1980s and 1990s as part of education for advanced surveying students at U. W. Madison who wanted field experience with what was then advanced field methods. They determined directional control for their maps by celestial observations (star shots and sun shots). Such techniques are no longer generally taught in surveying courses. True north can be established by star shots or sunshots to an accuracy of better than 0.01 deg.

In 1986, a team of these surveying students attempted to survey the earthworks at Edgewood College. But they were not completely successful due to some blunders and a lack of time. Also, the surveyor T. H. Lewis surveyed two effigy mounds on the campus in 1888 using the older and much less accurate Surveyors Compass and a tape. We can expect errors in direction from the magnetic compass of about 2 degrees or more. Since the 1800s, other maps have been made of mounds on campus, with directional errors appropriate for the period.