Conservation Easement Will Protect Two Indigenous Mounds in Franklin

photo courtesy of Southern Land

The Tennessee Ancient Sites Conservancy (TASC), an all-volunteer nonprofit organization dedicated to preserving, protecting, and educating about Tennessee’s prehistoric and indigenous history, and Southern Land Company (SLC), the Nashville-based real estate developer of Westhaven and Westhaven Golf Course, are pleased to announce the upcoming signing of a historic conservation easement agreement to protect two 1,800-year-old indigenous (Native American) mounds next to Westhaven Golf Club, off State Route 96 in Franklin, Tennessee. The easement signing will take place on Indigenous Peoples’ Day, Monday, October 9, at 1 p.m. at the mounds.

Toye Heape and Mark Tolley of TASC, and Matt Magallanes, vice president of business development for SLC, have been working on protecting the burial mounds since 2012. Through their combined efforts, a state historic marker on the side of State Route 96 was added in 2014 and The Glass Mounds Discontiguous Archeological District was listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Located close to the Harpeth River, the two mounds date back to around 200ce (common era) and were originally part of a larger native area that once contained at least four mounds. Phosphate mining in the mid-20th century destroyed most of the site. The mounds stood eight to 20 feet tall and contained copper artifacts, demonstrating trade between Tennessee and the Ohio River Valley.

During meetings with members of the local native community, the Alliance for Native American Indian Rights (ANAIR), and the Tennessee Division of Archaeology (TDOA), SLC made commitments to protect and preserve the site and expressed interest in utilizing it as an educational resource. The conservation easement agreement signing on October 9 will officially mark SLC’s preservation of the mounds and will permit native people and the public to continue to visit the site.

“Conservation easements are one of the best ways for landowners to involve a second party to look after the preservation and historic integrity of their property into the future,” said Tom Kunesh, president of TASC. “We look forward to commemorating this collaborative effort and properly honoring the mounds.”

For more information about TASC, visit https://www.tennasc.org/.