The council was seeking to persuade the officials to write letters in support of their proposed Five-Year Community Redevelopment Area Plan, a stamp of approval they hope will make their efforts to revitalize the area and preserve several Mississippian Indian mounds there more feasible.
“It gives us a little more weight,” said councilmember Nathan Eckstein, current owner of the Canton Hotel. “We need strength from Frankfort.”
Kit Wesler, an archaeologist from Murray State University who hopes to conduct a student-assisted field survey on one of the smaller mounds this summer, told McConnell representative Martie Wiles and Fletcher representative Virginia Gray that the Mississippian Indian village that existed where Canton is now located was “probably a little bit bigger” than the more famous Wickliffe Mounds on the Mississippi River, where Wesler has researched for more than 20 years.
“To do some [archaeological surveying] would really help us understand the regional picture of what was going on here,” he said.
On a brief walk from the Canton Hotel to a towering mound nearby, Wesler took barely a moment to give Wiles and Gray proof of the archaeological richness of the area he hopes to survey.
Using only his hands to explore the uppermost surface of the large mound, Wesler produced what he said was a wall fragment from the Indian village and a shard of flint left from making stone tools.
“The whole ground here is full of material like this,” Wesler told the representatives as they looked over the same Cumberland River valley that made the site a prime location for Mississippian Indians, with the river allowing navigation, the floodplain providing farmland, and high ground and good visibility up and downstream making the location easily defensible.
‘We’ll try to do what we can in our office,” said Wiles, the representatives from McConnell’s office.
She said that the recent scrutiny in Washington on so-called ‘earmarks’ — more famously known as pork-barrel legislation — makes it harder for senators to channel money to projects of the sort the Canton Heritage Council is envisioning.
“It’s the appropriations funding that helps you all,” Wiles said. “To me, that’s not pork.”
For the rest of this story, please see this week's edition of The Cadiz Record.