Study: Bronson Park mound was a Native American ceremony site

Archaeologists have uncovered new evidence of activities underneath the ancient mound.

For years, people have wondered about a giant mound on the southwest side of Bronson Park. Many have suggested it was a burial mound or a ceremonial site built by Native Americans long before Europeans took over what is now Kalamazoo.

New archaeological investigations may have settled its origins. Researchers used ground-penetrating radar to look deep into the earth. What they found was a ring of posts spaced around the edges of the mound, suggesting it was indeed a sacred space.

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“The mound itself was not a burial mound, there were no burials in it,” said University of Michigan Researcher David Brose in a presentation to the Kalamazoo City Commission on Monday. “But the mound itself had been built to commemorate some ceremonial activities that had taken place either in or around some sort of circular structure.”

He estimated the mound to be about 1,000 years old.

Gun Lake Tribal Councilwoman Phillis Davis said the mound should be preserved and protected.

“There were ceremonial practices that have occurred in this area, so we know that place was highly honored and respected,” she said. “So for our tribe, we’re looking at this as a way to preserve that – to teach the community about the history of Michigan and the Indigenous people that have lived in this area for thousands of years, and to enrich everyone’s life.”

The city plans to ring the area with stones and plant native plants overtop. They will also place educational markers around it to commemorate the people who inhabited the area hundreds of years ago.


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