What We Have Learned from Surveying Effigy Mounds

What We Have Learned from Surveying Effigy Mounds

By James P. Scherz

For talk at AES Meeting on January 17, 2015

Our surveys of the Indian mounds since about 1980 have revealed meaningful geometry in angles to an accuracy approaching 0.1 deg. (6 minutes of angle). Our surveys were controlled by celestial observations to an acc4Tacy of better than 0.01 deg. Meaningful distances were measured to an accuracy of better than about  ±  a foot after about  1995.  Prior to that, distances with the older stadia methods   were accurate to about 1 % of the distance measured (about 2 to 4 ft.).

The edges and centerlines of the mounds could be located in the field to an accuracy of about l to 2 ft. Prominent or organized rocks in the mound groups can be located in the field to much more accuracy than this. Studying our maps of the Indian mounds indicate that they were laid out to an amazing accuracy, and that geometry was an important part of the language which the mounds were meant to convey.

The geometry was laid out from true north. But this direction is almost never openly shown, therefore indicating ancient secrecy and encoding of the key information at the time the mounds were laid out. This is common when examining other evidence from ancient priest guilds. The fact that the most important part of the geometry (true north) is not openly shown tells us more than if it had been.