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Troyville Archaeological Zone Jonesville, Louisiana

A large town thrived on the Black River in present day Jonesville, LA during the same period that Teotihuacan dominated much of Mexico. The architectural form of the town’s massive principal mound is very similar to that of the Pyramids of the Sun and Moon in Teotihuacan. However, there is something else very intriguing about the Troyville Archaeological Zone. That massive mound in Louisiana was almost the exact same shape and size of the principal earthen pyramid at the Olmec civilization ceremonial center of La Venta in Tabasco State, Mexico. The two archaeological zones are virtually on the same longitude line, but a thousand years separates the construction dates of the two earthen pyramids.

Troyville Archaeological Zone

Troyville Archaeological Zone

The Troyville site was occupied between 100 AD and 1100 AD, with most of its large scale construction occurring between 600 AD and 700 AD. Some historians believe that it was reoccupied during the Late Mississippian Period and was the town of Anilco, visited by Hernando de Soto in the spring of 1542.

Louisiana archaeologist, Joseph Saunders, has theorized that the Zoque People, who founded the Olmec civilization, originated in Louisiana. The indigenous peoples in Louisiana were building large ceremonial mounds immediately prior to the beginning of the Olmec’s appearance on the Gulf Coast of Mexico. Saunders just may be on to something.

Troyville Archaeological Zone

Troyville Archaeological Zone

The biggest mound at Troyville was destroyed in 1931 in order to build a bridge across the Black River. Governor Huey P. Long was responsible for that travesty. Expansion of Jonesville into the archaeological zone has destroyed much of the remaining portions. However, citizens of Jonesville and the Archaeological Conservancy are doing what they can to save the rest.

French colonial archives, 19th century descriptions and satellite imagery, however, make it possible to re-create the appearance of the great Native town on the Black River as a computer model. You will see its probable appearance during its heydays.

If interested in reading and seeing more:

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Richard Thornton is a professional architect, city planner, author and museum exhibit designer-builder. He is today considered one of the nation’s leading experts on the Southeastern Indians. However, that was not always the case. While at Georgia Tech Richard was the first winner of the Barrett Fellowship, which enabled him to study Mesoamerican architecture and culture in Mexico under the auspices of the Institutio Nacional de Antropoligia e Historia. Dr. Roman Piňa-Chan, the famous archaeologist and director of the Museo Nacional de Antropologia, was his fellowship coordinator. For decades afterward, he lectured at universities and professional societies around the Southeast on Mesoamerican architecture, while knowing very little about his own Creek heritage. Then he was hired to carry out projects for the Muscogee-Creek Nation in Oklahoma. The rest is history. Richard is the Tribal Historic Preservation Officer for the KVWETV (Coweta) Creek Tribe and a member of the Perdido Bay Creek Tribe. In 2009 he was the architect for Oklahoma’s Trail of Tears Memorial at Council Oak Park in Tulsa. He is the president of the Apalache Foundation, which is sponsoring research into the advanced indigenous societies of the Lower Southeast.



    I want to know more. I am from Troyville, La.

    • Hey Jesse!

      Don’t you mean that you are from Jonesville, LA where Troyville Mounds are located? One thing that is particularly interesting about Troyville Mounds. The archaeologists have found vast quantities of indigo blue mud and just can’t figure out what it is. It is Maya Blue. It would be very interesting to see if atomic-chemical analysis matched the blue mud with the attapulgite mines in Georgia. The attapulgite from Georgia was a 100% match for the Maya Blue at the famous Maya city of Palenque.


      I am from Jonesville. As a kid it was custom at family reunion’s on the Black River ; the elders led the way where we ate the same clay. I have seen drawing on rocks , and on cave walls that looks like that in the Egyptian Pirymid Tombs. Drawings of hunting and animals. The cane matting can found today. My Great grandmother walked The Trail of Tears from Jonesville, La. to Oklahoma and back with her mom, dad and the rest of the family. She told me all about life on the Prarie and that the drumbeats and smoke never stopped.


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