The Glass Mounds are important because they're some of the largest remaining traces of the Woodland people who lived in Tennessee 2,000 years ago. These particular mounds date to between 200 and 500 A.D., and the cooperating organizations were hoping to show that aside from some damage done by earlier excavations, the mounds are intact. The good news is that this is the case.
Aaron Deter-Wolf, from the state, showed the small crowd how you could see a clear difference in the soil from where the top layers had been farmed and eroded and the actual structure of the mound, made up of wavy layers of baskets full of dirt. Most of us are more familiar with the later Mississippian culture with their stone box graves. But these Woodland people were a full millennium earlier. So, no stone box graves, no great ceremonial complexes. But the scant information we have on them suggests some cool stuff about the history of the area.
For instance, consider Pleasant View Farm, now owned by the Gentry family, a Tennessee Century Farm that has been in the Samuel Glass family since before the Civil War. (Yes, this is the same Glass the mounds are named after.) You could make an argument that it would be fitting to view the Gentry land as a Millennium Farm, since there's plenty of evidence that people have been farming that land for about 2,000 years. In other words, if you hear any Gentrys say, "That's just the way we've always done things around here," know that they're tapping into a little longer "always" than most of us can muster.
Anyway, it sounds like this has been a best-case-scenario all around — the developers have been instrumental in facilitating the mound preservation, the right groups were able to come together to make it happen, the archaeologists have found that the mounds are in good shape, and there's hope that there will be some kind of park and interpretive signage so that it's easier for people to visit. A number of people I talked to said that making and keeping the mounds visible will be instrumental in their preservation — not just because it discourages vandals, but because people save what they know and come to love. And everyone seemed optimistic about their chances of getting some kind of National Register of Historic Places recognition.
That's good news.