Construction Crew Uncovers Artifacts in Walls, MS

Published: Apr. 25, 2005 at 3:25 AM CDT|Updated: Apr. 28, 2005 at 3:22 PM CDT
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Future plans for one large plot of land in the Walls community include three new schools. Presently, there are remnants of its life as a cotton field. But it's what took place here in the distant past that has peaked the interest of archaeology professor David Dye.

"This site is about, guessing by the pottery or whatever, 12 hundred years old," says Dye. Dye and two of his students from the University of Memphis spent their Sunday combing the cotton field. Pieces of pottery were among the artifacts they found. Arrowheads and even human remains have also surfaced here. It all points to this once being a prehistoric Native American village. "The benefit of not tearing it up is that we learn something about the history of this country," says Dye.

But tearing up the land is exactly what the DeSoto County school system had planned. In fact, work was just about to begin last week when history stepped in. "I don't think any of us really anticipated this," says Assistant Superintendent of Schools Ken Reid. Now, the school system has halted construction until given the go-ahead. "Well, obviously, my major concern is getting a school built," says Reid. "But we don't want to disrupt any major archaeological finds by doing it," he adds.

"As an archaeologist, it's exciting to see an archaeological site," says professor Dye. "But I'm never glad to see something held up," he adds. He says he'll do everything he can to allow progress to proceed while making sure the past is preserved.

Dye did clear the way Sunday for site work for one of the schools. More extensive excavation will need to occur before the other two schools are built. That could end up costing the school system pretty big bucks.