Local reports show Marksville Mounds in a state of neglect. This will be a focus of the upcoming LAS annual meeting in Marksville. More information can be read at: http://www.avoyellestoday.com/news/marksville-city-officials-call-action-save-indian-park
Over 40 volunteers came together Saturday, September 24 to reclaim the Old Hunt Cemetery from the forest landscape. Old Hunt, one of the three cemeteries located within the newly acquired Cold Springs, Kurthwood, and Simpson Training Areas, was not fenced, gated or signed when purchased by the Army Corps of Engineers for expansion of Fort Polk. The project was an excellent example of partnerships and volunteerism.
Funds for materials to build the fence and some supplies to help clear the debris were awarded by the National Environmental Education Foundation through the DoD Legacy Grant. The Fort Polk Cultural Resource Office and Forestry Branch provided pre-event assistance with clearing large trees, creating a firebreak, and marking the fence location within the work area. Eagle Scout Candidate Matthew Anderson, Boy Scout Troop 124, provided the leadership and coordination of volunteers on Saturday. Louisiana Archaeology Society members assisted with the examination of dirt excavated for post holes. Heritage Family Members, prime beneficiaries, were on hand to assist.
“Matthew learned of the project when the grant was first announced and was pro-active in making the day happen,” bragged Brad Laffitte, Fort Polk Cultural Resource Manager. “With so many people working together, the day was a huge success and the project completed was even more extensive than was first thought possible.”
Billy Hunt, descendant of Christopher Columbus Hunt (B: 11-8-1834 D: 3-28-1885) who is buried in the cemetery, attended the clean up as well as Rayford West, local point of contact and historian for the cemetery. Each addressed the volunteers and expressed appreciation for the project.
According to Luke Dahlen, FP Boy Scout Troop Master, “Eleven Boy Scouts volunteered an accumulated 64 conservation service hours last Saturday. Thanks to Matthew's great oversight and leadership, the Boy Scouts suffered zero injuries or hot weather related casualties.”
Stanley Fletcher, of the Heritage Family Association, played a key role in helping to prepare the site for Saturday’s work as well as supervising the fence installation. Gene Haymon, President of the Heritage Family Association was on hand and had this to say, “The Old Hunt was unattended and completely taken over by the woods. Graves there saw real sunlight for the first time in about 30 years.”
Sharna Tolfree and Aliza Sager from the Conservation Branch taught Boy Scouts about habitat enhancement through use of bird boxes which will be placed in the area at the same time cemetery signage is placed.
This project demonstrates JRTC & Fort Polk's willingness to partner with the local community to recognize and protect historic resources. Dahlen said the project also shows Troop 124’s commitment to hard work, Scout Spirit, and living a life of service.
The Division of Archaeology recently updated there website to include interactive pages that focus on some of the most important archaeological sites of the state. More information can be found here:
A look at archeological investigations at San Felipe de Austin State Historic Site in June 2014. Learn more at www.visitsanfelipedeaustin.com.