Wednesday, November 24, 2010

On Frowns and Indian Burial Grounds

In an attempt to give myself some prompts to write about, I hereby decree that every Wednesday shall be Ben Folds Day. On such days I will take a line or two from Mr. Folds and spew out a post roughly prompted by it.


Here we go. :)

"Hard to remember how we managed before
We could afford real or nervous breakdowns
Or before the Anthropologie store
Was erected on Indian burial grounds."- Frown Song, Ben Folds

A few months ago my husband and I took the kids to the Dickson Mounds museum. The Dickson Mounds are a series of Indian burial grounds. There is now a large Illinois State Museum nestled near (over?) them. The museum is home to lots of interesting artifacts and displays, despite being located in the middle of no where.

As we were driving to the museum the landscape turned from pretty much flat to hills. As we were pulling up we noted a couple cow farms perched on hilly land around the Mounds. Surely those were also burial grounds?

So my question is this: how do we tell hills from burial grounds without digging everything up? And does it matter if we build things over dead people.

I mean really, people have been around a long time. Odds are, especially in some part of the world, there is people (or evolutionary relatives of people) buried under lots and lots and lots of buildings. Does that matter? Why are some graves sacred and others abandoned? Other then from a anthropological view is there anything really sacred about the bones of the long dead?

I really don't have an answer, I just think it is something interesting to ponder. Why do the mounds half a mile over get a farmstead while the other mounds get a museum?

On a slightly related note, I think in 1000 years garbage dumps will totally be the less sacred equivalent Indian burial grounds. Big old hills, grown over with grass, hiding archeological goodies.

Just think, someday the broken curling iron I threw away this morning might end up in a museum. "And here we have a 20th-21st century metal rod used to curl hair."

If that ever happens I hope they fix the spring.

The Frown Song (swearing warning!):

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