Program 35: The Counter-Mound Builders.
WELCOME ONCE AGAIN to Plodleigh’s Ancient Mysteries. I’m Kenny Plodleigh, and tonight we explore the mysterious Mon Valley Culture, whose once-powerful empire stretched from present-day Munhall all the way up to present-day Monessen or thereabouts. When other North American cultures were building mounds, this extraordinary people were building inverse mounds, known to archaeologists as holes. In fact, current archaeological research indicates that the raw materials for the mounds in the Hopewell Culture may have come from the holes created by the sophisticated Mon Valley Culture, which is indeed an extraordinary example of intercultural cooperation. Now, I was going to take you on a tour of the most spectacular Mon Valley Culture site, the Duquesne Ditch, but the Duquesne city police, whose name is Harold, informed us that we needed a permit to film at the site. So we went to the next-most-famous Mon Valley Culture site, the West Elizabeth Hole-in-the-Ground, but someone had built a Uni-Mart on top of it. So I drew a diagram of one of these Mon Valley inverse mounds on this cocktail napkin I picked up at Motzsky’s in New Eagle. And as you can see, it starts out level like this, then goes down quite a bit, and then comes back up on the other side, and it’s level again over here. This extraordinary design is repeated over and over again in the various Mon Valley Culture inverse mounds. What is even more extraordinary is that these remarkable architects, whom we once thought of as primitive savages, had the technology to dig through solid asphalt or even concrete, to judge by the large number of inverse mounds found today in asphalt and concrete pavements throughout the Mon Valley area. Here’s another cocktail napkin showing how we think they did it. This figure here, with the happy face, is using a primitive jackhammer fashioned from flint and old shower-curtain rods, all bound together with dental floss. He has a happy face because he’s hammering right through the concrete, leaving a big inverse mound right in the middle of the pavement. This stick right here is his arm, because I can’t draw arms very well. He probably has two arms, but I only drew one of them. And this mean-looking thing over here with the fangs is Harold, the Duquesne cop, who’s saying in this talk balloon, “Do you have a permit for that?” Ha ha—it’s a sort of joke, you see. And that’s how we think the Mon Valley Culture made the many inverse mounds we see all over the Mon Valley today. Well, that’s all we have for this week, because I’m out of cocktail napkins, so until next week, this is Kenny Plodleigh wishing you all kinds of great adventures. Join us next week when we explore the mysterious parallel stripes that sometimes cover acres of asphalt around shopping centers in suburban Robinson Township.