Union County Heritage Museum to host Ingomar Mound Day Saturday

Stargazers, archaeology enthusiasts, and people that love learning about history and ancient weapons, need to come out to the Ingomar community this Saturday afternoon for the annual Ingomar Mound Day.

Festivities will include star gazing with telescopes, object identification, tours of the Ingomar mounds, ancient weapons demonstrations and trail walks to Ingomar Mounds

The event will take place from 2 – 8 p.m. In the past, the event began in the morning. The event is free.

But, in honor of an astronomy star gazing program sponsored by French Camp’s Rainwater Observatory, the event will begin later than normal.

October is Archaeology Month and archaeology will be celebrated along with stargazing and other activities. Mississippi is home to approximately 28,000 Native American sites and many of the names that are familiar to people in this area are based in the Native American cultures that once thrived in the state. 

Keith Baca, archaeologist from Cobb Institute and author of the book Native American Place Names in Mississippi, will be on hand to identify artifacts that the public can bring to the event.

The one-mile trail will be open for walking and the mound will be open for tours. 

Rainwater Observatory will have solar telescopes for looking at the sun during the daylight hours and will have night telescopes for stargazing after dark until approximately 8 p.m, weather permitting. At 6 p.m. a powerpoint presentation on Archaeoastronomy will be given by James Hill, director emeritus of the Rainwater Observatory and Planetarium, to help understand how ancient people viewed the cosmos.

For the last several years, Hill has worked with the National Park Service at Bryce Canyon and other parks in the four corners region. His presentation will feature ways that the ancient people used the sky to order their lives and even construct massive buildings. The amazingly accurate understanding of the motions of the Sun and Moon by the ancestral people of the Midwest will be a particular focus. 

The large platform mound at Ingomar is built on the cardinal directions, and it is unknown if it was used as a ancient observatory, however some Middle Woodland sites such as Tennessee’s Pinson Mounds were used in such a way. His program is underwritten by the Mississippi NASA Space Grant Consortium.

After the presentation, telescopes will be set up to view Jupiter and other objects in the sky such as nebulas and star clusters. Lawn chairs are greatly encouraged.

Joe and Merrill Willis, native plant enthusiasts and Tammy Greer, head of the Native American Medicine Wheel Garden at Mississippi Southern University, will also be at the event as well as Pat Arrinder demonstrating ancient weapons.

Ingomar Mound is a Middle Woodland site built approximately 2,000 years ago and is the oldest manmade structure in Union County. It is located on County Road 96, west of Highway 15. When first explored in the 1890s, there were 14 mounds at this site. The large platform mound remains on the 63 acre site now owned by the Archaeological Conservancy.

A project is underway to develop signage, pave a parking lot, create a trail and construct outdoor classrooms at the site, all supported by the Appalachian Regional Commission and the Union County Historical Society, assisted by Union County Board of Supervisors and the City of New Albany as well as other entities. Call the museum at 538-0014 for more information.