Burial mounds on Lake Koronis to be protected

This article submitted on 1/24/01.

The Archaeological Conservancy, a national nonprofit organization, is working to preserve a 43-acre archaeological site on Lake Koronis, near Paynesville.

The site contains a well-preserved Indian burial mound group constructed during the Middle Woodland period, between approximately 200 B.C. and 700 A.D.

Paul Gardner, the Conservancy's midwest regional director, has been working with Mary Hahn, the landowner and a Paynesville resident, to preserve the ancient site.

"People don't realize yet what the future holds for this area," Hahn said. Her observation refers to the land between still-quiescent Paynesville and the booming megalopolis of Minne-apolis-St. Paul.

While this area may still possess abundant open space, Hahn believes that suburban sprawl and the desire for lake-front and lake-view homes will place Lake Koronis under tremendous development pressure in the near future.

Hahn has had the foresight to envision the future and has acted to preserve the past. Her desire to ensure that the archaeological site would not fall victim to development led her to agree to sell the property to the Archaeological Conservancy as a bargain sale to charity. Under the agreement, the Conservancy will protect the site as a permanent archaeological preserve.

Gardner says, "The Conservancy is very excited about the Lake Koronis Mound Group project. This period in Minnesota's history has not been well studied, so the research potential for this site is very high."

The areas around the mound will be made available for archaeologists to study, while the mounds themselves, because they contain burials, will remain undisturbed and unexcavated.

Once preserved, the mounds may be incorporated into a walking trail around the lake that a local group is planning. The Conservancy is still in the process of raising the necessary funds to make the purchase and has received pledges and funds from the Oakleaf Foundation and the Marbrook Foundation.

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