If you've ever visited the campus of Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge, you've likely seen the two huge rolling mounds that appear completely out of place.

Get our free mobile app

Actually, those mounds were there first, so it could be argued that it's the LSU campus that's out of place.

But, not only were those mounds here before the campus, they were here long before Columbus discovered the Americas in 1492. They were here before Jesus walked the Earth. In fact, recent testing has just shown them to date back as far as 11,000 years, making them the oldest known man made structures on the entire North American continent.

LSU.edu writes:

The two large, grassy mounds that are about 20 feet tall, on LSU’s campus, are among the more than 800 man-made, hill-like mounds in Louisiana, built by ancient indigenous people. While many mounds in the region have been destroyed, the LSU Campus Mounds have been preserved and are listed on the National Register for Historic Places.

Speaking to the Louisiana Radio Network on the recent findings of the research, LSU Geology and Geophysics Professor Emertius Brooks Ellwood is inclined to believe the mounds on the LSU campus were a cremation site.

These Mounds Were Used For A Span Of About 5,000 Years

Studying the sediment from the base of the mounds, the material was determined to be ash from burned reed and cane plants along with charred microscopic bone fragments and radiocarbon dating samples indicate the beginning of the construction of the mounds occurred 11,000 years ago.  Ellwood said, "And the dates that we have and we have quite a number of them and the oldest is at the base of one of the mounds…as it gets higher, it gets younger.”

Though scientists don't speculate what type of mammals were cremated or why, they do feel that burning reed and cane plants to make large, hot fires that would have been too hot for cooking, so the mounds must have been ceremonial.

As Ellwood indicated, the farther up the mound that samples were taken, the more recent the material was dated and all indications are that the construction of the mounds ended approximately 6,000 years ago.

It Got Extremely Cold In Louisiana About 8,000 Years Ago

The same research also showed other incredible findings like:

Tree roots found in the 8,200-year-old sediment layer indicate that the mound was not used for about 1,000 years. Also around 8,200 years ago, the northern hemisphere experienced a major climate event with temperatures suddenly dropping on average by about 35 degrees Fahrenheit, which lasted about 160 years.

 

“We don’t know why they abandoned the mounds around 8,200 years ago, but we do know their environment changed suddenly and dramatically, which may have affected many aspects of their daily life,” Ellwood said.

Read more about this amazing research and LSU's analysis of the data in the study HERE

LOOK: Stunning vintage photos capture the beauty of America's national parks

Today these parks are located throughout the country in 25 states and the U.S. Virgin Islands. The land encompassing them was either purchased or donated, though much of it had been inhabited by native people for thousands of years before the founding of the United States. These areas are protected and revered as educational resources about the natural world, and as spaces for exploration.

Keep scrolling for 50 vintage photos that show the beauty of America's national parks.

LOOK: The most expensive weather and climate disasters in recent decades

Stacker ranked the most expensive climate disasters by the billions since 1980 by the total cost of all damages, adjusted for inflation, based on 2021 data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). The list starts with Hurricane Sally, which caused $7.3 billion in damages in 2020, and ends with a devastating 2005 hurricane that caused $170 billion in damage and killed at least 1,833 people. Keep reading to discover the 50 of the most expensive climate disasters in recent decades in the U.S.

More From Highway 98.9