- Associated Press - Monday, May 23, 2016

WINTERVILLE, Miss. (AP) - After 10 years of planning, Mississippi’s Mound Trail - a 350-mile driving tour of 33 Indian mounds along or near Highway 61 - is making its debut.

Monday’s ceremony is at Winterville Mounds, one of the four sites open to the public. The Grand Village of the Natchez Indians, Pocahontas Rest Area and Welcome Center, and Emerald Mound on the Natchez Trace Parkway also are publicly owned.

The others are on private land visible from a road. Pam Lieb, chief archaeologist for the Mississippi Department of Archives and History, told The Delta Democrat Times (http://bit.ly/1TtgREs) that the owners have agreed to let the state put up historical markers.

“Mississippi has one of the largest concentrations of Native American Indian mounds the country. … What we wanted to do was feature these sites and share them with the citizens of Mississippi and visitors of this state just to kind of showcase what a history we have here and how incredible it is,” she said.

Each site will have a pull-off where people can get out of their cars to read the sign.

The department’s website says the trail is modeled after a similar project in Louisiana, where four driving trails pass dozens of mounds in northeast and east-central Louisiana.

Lieb said overseas visitors who travel Mississippi’s Blues Trail often ask about the Native American mounds. “I think this will provide a great resource to all the visitors coming into the state,” she said.

The Mississippi department’s website has GPS coordinates for each mound, and Mississippi the Department of Transportation created Mississippi Mounds signs to direct travelers, Lieb said.

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Online:

Mississippi trail: http://trails.mdah.ms.gov/mmt/index.html

Louisiana trails: http://www.crt.state.la.us/dataprojects/archaeology/moundsguide/index.html

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Information from: Delta Democrat-Times, http://www.ddtonline.com

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