LSU Civil and Environmental Engineering, Geography and Anthropology Research Preservation of Native American Sites

August 09, 2023

Image of LSU Campus Indian Mounds with oak tree in foreground.Coastal erosion impacts communities along the Gulf of Mexico, like Native Americans, whose archaeological sites are greatly affected by land loss. Wanting to help, faculty from LSU Civil and Environmental Engineering and LSU Geography and Anthropology are working alongside other Louisiana universities to evaluate and determine how these tribes can protect their land.

“The whole motivation behind the project is to focus on cultural resources that are being impacted and bring them to light,” said LSU Geography and Anthropology Associate Professor Kory Konsoer. “You have the coastal zone of Louisiana that is in crisis, but a lot of the emphasis is on the broader picture—ecosystem, infrastructure—and this is trying to bring a little more attention to those cultural resources that include Native American archaeological sites, like earthen mounds, some of which are single mound sites while others are more complex, such as a series of mounds typically built in an oval or circle with a central plaza communal space within in it. There are hundreds of these sites in coastal Louisiana. Some of them are already lost; some are being actively eroded; some are subsiding and becoming inundated with water. Right now, it may be subsidence or storm surge, but as we lose more land, those sites will be exposed to the coastline and have active wave erosion.” 

This collaborative project by a team of LSU researchers is just one example of the university's commitment to combatting coastal erosion along the Gulf of Mexico as part of the Scholarship First Agenda.