INDIAN MOUNTAINS.Indigenous peoples built mounds of various shapes and sizes to the east.North Americafor several thousand years. These hills were the subject of much speculation during the westward expansionUSA, AlthoughThomas JeffersonHe had dug one up and concluded it was Native American work. Unfortunately, when the last eastern tribes were forced along the Trail of Tears west of the Mississippi River, Jefferson's discoveries were forgotten and the hills were mistaken for the work of a lost racemound builder. This mound builder myth was eventually buried by theInstitut SmithsonianArchaeologists in the 1890s when Native Americans are credited with building all the mounds in the worldUSA.
Archaeological discoveries in the 20th and early 21st centuries indicate that many native groups built mounds over time. The former include small tombs found in the late 4th millennium BC. were known throughout the eastern United States. called "Middle Archaic". The Elizabeth Mounds site in Illinois has male and female burials on a low mound dating to 4000 BC. C., indicating large relatives.
Groups, sometimes called lines or clans. Other Archean hills along the Green River in Tennessee and in coastal areas from the Carolinas to Louisiana date from the same time horizon. These mounds were often ring-shaped mounds of mollusc shells. A similar series of hills in northeastern Louisiana were made of earth. These include the impressive Watson Brake Mounds, ten mounds up to 20 feet high arranged around an elliptical 'plaza' three hundred meters long. By the year 1200 CE, construction of the only "Late Archaic" mound had begun at Poverty Point in northeastern Louisiana. The main mound at this point may have been in the shape of a mythical bird of prey. This mound was twenty-five meters high and bounded by a series of parallel bread-shaped mounds and islands, or radiating paths, arranged around a vast central space. The Poverty Point mounds suggest a level of sophistication in mound building not seen before this era.
During the "Early Woodland" period (800-200 BC) mound building continued in some places. In and around Ohio, Adena mound assemblies produced centrally located but sparsely populated mound sites that often contained prominent conical tombs, some reaching twenty meters in height. In subsequent centuries, during what archaeologists call the "middle forest" (200 B.C.). The people of the central forest sometimes built large flat-topped pyramids, huge earthen mounds, and conical tombs. At the Pinson site in Tennessee is a four-sided mound with a flat Top sixty feet high It was probably a stage of sorts, emphasizing a ritual or religious performance In places like Newark, Ohio, earthworks were built in huge geometric shapes: circles, octagons, and squares, covering up to twenty acres of level ground. These enclosed spaces were likely sacred ritual areas. Procedural routes or "roads" led to and from these enclosed spaces. At other locations in Middle Woodland in the Midwest and Midsouth, conical mounds were built atop central burial mounds, containing the bones of important individuals. Graves beneath Graves were sometimes filled with the dead and their grave goods Graba Artifacts are often named Hopewell after a place in Ohio.
A lull in the building of mounds, or a reduction in the scale of such buildings, followed the Middle Forest period in most places. However, in Georgia and northern Florida, construction of cemeteries and platforms continued during this "Late Woodland" period (AD 300-1000, with dates as late as European contact in some places). At sites called Kolomoki and McKeithen, archaeologists have found that prominent men and women directed the building of mounds and the use of mound tops. In Ohio, the great serpent mound was being built during this period, as were other image mounds—earth mounds in the shapes of birds, serpents, and four-legged animals—in Wisconsin and neighboring states. Around AD 700 in Louisiana, Mississippi, and Arkansas, a new wave of mound building saw the construction of flat-topped rectangular mounds around large open rectangular plazas. These are the so-called "Coles Creek" centers. In the Arkansas River Valley, the so-called Toltec site has eighteen platform mounds and open spaces surrounded by a semicircular earthen causeway. Like others of their kind, however, the Toltecs were abandoned because of another new mound-building way of life that emerged in the Mississippi Valley shortly after 2000 AD. 1000. Giant mounds were built at this time at the Cahokia site in southwestern Illinois. This massive construction effort ushered in the "Mississippian" period, which lasted from 2000 AD. 1000 to European contact in parts of the SoutheastNorth America.
Cahokia appears to have been the only North American city-state to arise, a unique and exceptionally large population center. Its largest central pyramid rose a hundred feet above the surrounding floodplain of the mighty Mississippi. This central pyramid, called "Monte de los Monjes", covered five hectares at its base, making it one of the largest monuments in the pre-Columbian New World (after the pyramids of Teotihucan and Cholula in Mexico and Moche in Peru). More than a hundred pyramidal mounds clustered around Cahokia's many plazas, the largest plaza covering twenty acres. These in turn were surrounded by neighborhoods of thatched houses. Nearby were other pyramidal mounds, most of which had four sides and flat tops. Mississippi temples, town halls, and homes of important men and women were built on their peaks. In Cahokia and other centers in southern Mississippi, mound building was a regular, repetitive act that involved the entire community each year.
Many other Mississippi hills are in places like Moundville in Alabama, Shiloh in Tennessee, Etowah in Georgia, and Emerald or Winterville in Mississippi. Dozens of such sites and their mounds testify to a distinctive way of life that endured into historic times. Members of Hernando de Soto's expedition in 1539-1543 and later European explorers and Euro-American pioneers found that the hills, the buildings on their peaks, and even the chiefs and priests who lived or cared for the hills, sacred and highly revered. . . Hill building ceased shortly after European colonization and much was forgotten during the expulsion of indigenous peoples from their homes. The hills bear witness to the rich and complex history of the American Indians.
Charles, Douglas K., Steven R. Leigh, and Jane E. Buikstra, eds.The ancient and wooded cemeteries at the Elizabeth site in Illinois' Lower Valley.Kampsville, Illinois: Kampsville Archaeological Center, 1988.
Gibson Jon L.The Ancient Poverty Hills Point: Ort der Ringe.Gainesville: University of Florida Press, 2001.
Lindauer, Owen, and John H. Blitz. "Higher Ground: An Archeology of North American Platform Mounds."Archaeological Research Magazine5 (1997): 169–207.
Pauketat, Timothy R.Temple of the Lords of Cahokia: 1955–1956 excavations of Kunnemann Hill by Preston Holder. Ann Arbor:University of MichiganPresse, 1993.
Russian, Michael. "A Brief Introduction to the Study of the Archaic Mounds of the Southeast".Archeology of the Southeast13 (1994): 89–93.
Squier, Ephraim, and Edwin H. Davis.Ancient landmarks in the Mississippi Valley.1948. Reprinted by D. J. Meltzer. Washington, D.C.:Institut Smithsonian, 1998.
Timothy R.you strike
see alsoArcheology and Prehistory of North America.