KA-DO-HA INDIAN MOUND EXCAVATION

If you're going down to Murfreesboro to dig for diamonds at Crater of Diamonds State Park, you might want to take in the Ka-Do-Ha Indian village, a private attraction and museum. Find the turnoff on highway 26/27 just west of the town square and follow the signs.

The story goes like this. Ka-Do-Ha Indian Village began as an attraction here thirty years ago when an amateur archaeologist excavated Indian mounds that he found on his land. He left the bones and grave goods in place and built sheds over the excavations to protect the site from the weather. Twenty years ago, the present owner bought the attraction and has preserved the site in its original condition. Also on hand are reconstructions of mud huts with thatched roofs similar to those built by Arkansas' ancient inhabitants.

So you pay your money and enter a museum filled with pottery, projectial points and other artifacts. A recording explains case-by-case what you're looking at. When the recording ends, you are directed to go outside and visit the sheds, where you peer into deep circular pits at the revealed skeletons of the ancient ones, left exactly as they were found thirty years ago and illuminated by low-wattage utility lights.

But if you take photographs, you can reveal even more. On the left is an enlargement of the ancient skull at the bottom of one of the pits. On the right is the same photograph with the contrast cranked up and the color spectrum shifted toward blue. I suppose it could be my imagination, but that looks a lot like a straight seam running clear 'round the cranium. As I said, it may just be my imagination--a trick of the light. Yeah, that's got to be it.

These ancient ones, for a bunch of precolumbian aborigines, also had remarkable dental hygiene and enviable orthodonture. Many of the skulls still have all of their teeth and they're lined up like piano keys.

RTJ--10/4/97



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