Etowah Mound

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Etowah Mound – A large artificial mound on the N. bank of Etowah r., 3 m. s. E. of Cartersville, Bartow co., Ga. With 4 or 5 smaller mounds it is on a level bottom in a bend of the stream, the immediate area, covering about 56 acres, flanked on one side by an artificial ditch that extends in a semicircle from a point on the river above to the river below. The large mound, which is a quadrilateral truncated pyramid, 61 ft. high, has a broad roadway ascending the s. side to within 18 or 20 ft. of the top, and was formerly provided with steps made with crossbeams imbedded in the earth, remains of which were visible as late as 1885. The diameters of the base are respectively 380 and 330 ft, and of the top 170 and 176 ft. The area of the base is a little less than 3 acres, and of the top about seven-tenths of an acre. The solid contents of the mound, including the roadway, are about 4,300,000 cu. ft. On the E. side there is a narrow extension from the summit to the base, which appears to have been a sort of refuse slide. The village situated here was possibly the Guaxule of De Soto’s chroniclers (1540), and the large mound the one mentioned by Garcilasso de la Vega (Florida, lib. in, cap. xx, 139, 1723), although Mooney (19th Rep. B. A. E., 520, 1900) is of the opinion that Guaxule was probably about at Nacooche mound in White co.

The earliest description of the Etowah mound in modern times is by Cornelius (Silliman’s Am. Jour. Sci. and Art., 1st s., i, 322, 1818). C. C. Jones (Antiq. So. Ind., 136, 1873) and Whittlesey (Smithson. Rep., 624, 1881) also describe and illustrate it. A careful survey of the large mound and group, and a partial exploration of the smaller mounds, were made by the Bureau of American Ethnology and an account thereof was published (5th Rep., 95-105, 1887; 12th Rep., 292, 1894). Cornelius states that “the Cherokees in their late war with the Creeks secured its [the large mound s] summit by pickets and occupied it as a place of protection for hundreds of their women and children.” The smallest of the 3 larger mounds, the surrounding space, and 1 or 2 small tumuli have been explored. Parts of 3 or 4 stone images, copper plates with stamped figures bearing some resemblance to Mexican designs, and other copper plates with pieces attached by rivets have been found. Other articles, such as pipes, earthen ware, copper celts, stone plates, etc., have also been un earthed. For further information see the works above cited; also Squier and Davis, Ancient Monuments, 1852; Thomas (1) Burial Mounds of the Northern Section, 5th Rep. B.A. E. 1887, (2) Catalogue of Prehistoric Works, Bull. B.A. E., 45, 1891; Holmes in Science, iii, 437, 1884. (C. T.)

MLA Source Citation:

Hodge, Frederick Webb, Compiler. The Handbook of American Indians North of Mexico. Bureau of American Ethnology, Government Printing Office. 1906. Web. 26 January 2015. - Last updated on Jul 18th, 2012

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