Topic: Mounds

Big Gopher and Boynton Mound Complexes

The immensely rich archaeological heritage of South Florida is little known outside the southern tip of the Florida Peninsula. Perhaps least known are the large town sites east of Lake Okeechobee. Several have been studied by professional archaeologists and the large town sites are all now protected by some form of public ownership. The 143 acre Big Mound City and 12 acre Big Gopher Archaeological Zones are located in central Palm Beach County, Florida. 1“People of the Water.” Historical Society of Palm Beach County. Web Site. They are ten miles east of Canal Point, in the J.W. Corbett Wildlife Management Area. Nearby Big Gopher is one of the best-preserved earthwork sites in the Lake Okeechobee Basin and consists of linear ridges, crescents, mounds, and middens. Much of Palm Beach County was thinly occupied by the Jaega People, when the region was first visited by the Spanish in the late 1500s and early 1600s. 2Hann, John H. (2003). Indians of Central and South Florida: 1513-1763. University Press of Florida. p. 62. In English, this ethnic name would be written Haega. They were linguistically related to the fierce Ais People living to the north. The Jaega were hunters, fishermen and gatherers. 3Austin, Daniel W. (1997). “The Glades Indians and the Plants they Used. Ethnobotany of an Extinct Culture“. The Palmetto, 17(2):7 -11. (14 September 2002). They produced relatively little pottery and...

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Ancient Tumuli on the Savannah River

Near the close of a spring day in 1776, Mr. William Bartram, who, at the request of Dr. Fothergill, of London, had been for some time studying the flora of Carolina, Georgia, and Florida, forded Broad River just above its confluence with the Savannah, and became the guest of the commanding officer at Fort James. This fort was situated on an eminence in the forks of the Savannah and Broad, equidistant from those rivers, and from the extreme point of land formed by their union. Fort Charlotte was located about a mile below, on the left bank of the...

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Bird-Shaped Stone Tumult in Putnam County, Georgia

The existence of curious effigy-mounds in the southern counties of Wisconsin was noted by Mr. Lapham in 1836. Subsequently, Mr. Taylor, Professor Locke, and Messrs. Squier and Davis furnished additional information in regard to the distinctive characteristics of these unusual structures. It was reserved, however, for the Smithsonian Institution, in the seventh volume of its “Contributions,” to furnish, from the pen of Mr. Lapham, the most complete account of these interesting remains. They were quite numerous along the great Indian trail or war-path from Lake Michigan, near Milwaukee, to the Mississippi above the Prairie du Chien. Generally representing men,...

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Rood Creek Mounds

Rood Creek Mounds (also known as Roods Creek Mounds) is a very large Native American town site in southwestern Georgia that is immediately east of the Chattahoochee River in Stewart County. It was one of the largest Native American towns in the eastern United States. The original palisade enclosed about 120 acres and eight mounds. The final palisade enclosed at least eight mounds and 150 acres.   The archaeological zone is now within Rood Landing Recreation Area, a US Army Corps of Engineers facility on Lake Eufaula. Relatively little is known about this archaeological zone. Four mounds (A, B, D...

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The Chickasaw War of 1739

Through the instigation of The French the war was continued between the seemingly infatuated and blinded Choctaws and Chickasaws during the entire year 1737, yet without any perceptibly advantageous results to either. A long and bitter experience seemed wholly inadequate to teach them the selfish designs of the French. No one can believe the friendship of the French for the Choctaws was unassumed. They were unmerciful tyrants by whatever standard one may choose to measure them, and without a redeeming quality as far as their dealings with the North American Indians go to prove; and their desire for the good of that race of people utterly out...

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Choctaw Burial Customs

Thus the greater part of the southern country was claimed and occupied by tribes belonging to the Muskhogean group, who were first encountered by the Spanish explorers of the early sixteenth century, and who continued to occupy the region until removed during the first half of the nineteenth century. For three centuries they are known to have remained within the same limited area. On the west were the Choctaw, whose villages extended over a large part of the present State of Mississippi and eastward into Alabama. And to this tribe should undoubtedly be attributed the many burial mounds now encountered within the bounds of their ancient territory, but the remains as now found embedded in a mass of sand and earth forming the mound represent only one, the last, phase of the ceremonies which attended the death and burial of the Choctaw. These as witnessed and described by Bartram were quite distinct. “As soon as a person is dead, they erect a scaffold eighteen or twenty feet high, in a grove adjacent to the town, where they lay the corpse lightly covered with a mantle; here it is suffered to remain, visited and protected by the friends and relations, until the flesh becomes putrid, so as easily to part from the bones; then undertakers, who made it their business, carefully strip the flesh from the bones, wash and cleanse...

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Cherokee Burial Customs

Far to the southward, occupying the beautiful hills and valleys of eastern Tennessee and the adjoining parts of Georgia and Carolina, lived that great detached Iroquoian tribe, the Cherokee. Here they lived when the country was traversed by the Spaniards in 1540, and here they continued for three centuries. But although so frequently mentioned by early writers, and so often visited by traders, very little can be learned regarding their burial customs. Nevertheless it is evident they often placed the body on the exposed surface, on some high, prominent point, and then covered it with many stones gathered from the surface. Such stone mounds are quite numerous, not only on the hills once occupied by the Cherokee, but far northward. Many of the western towns of the Cherokee, often termed the Overhill Towns, were in the vicinity of Blount County, Tennessee. Many stone mounds were there on the hilltops. and these may justly be attributed to the Cherokee, but all may not have covered the remains of the dead. ” Leaving Chilhowee Valley and crossing the Alleghany range toward North Carolina, in a southeast course, having Little Tennessee River on my right, and occasionally in sight from the cliffs, my attention was called along the road, to stone heaps. After an examination of the objects and a talk with Indians and the oldest inhabitants, I came to the conclusion...

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Mounds and Fortifications

The mural remains, in the United States alone, are of almost incredible number, and of most imposing magnitude. It has been asserted by an accurate western antiquarian should not exaggerate if I were to say that more than five thousand might be found, some of them enclosing more than a hundred acres.” The mounds and tumuli, he remarks, are far more numerous. Professor Rafinesque ascertained the existence of more than five hundred ancient monuments in Kentucky alone, and fourteen hundred in other states, most of which he had personally examined. These remains appear most numerous in the vicinity of...

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Stone Lined Graves – Important Person

It must have been the tomb of an important person, the burial place of some great man, highly esteemed by his companions. The mound is, as shown in the plan, surrounded by a ditch and embankment. “The mound, which covers the entire area, save a narrow strip here and there, is 115 feet long and 96 feet wide at base, with a height of 23 feet. . . . The surrounding wall and ditch are interrupted only by the gateway at the east, which is about 30 feet wide. The ditch is 3 feet deep and varies in width from 20 to 23 feet. The wall averages 20 feet in breadth and is from 1 foot to 3 feet high.” The upper 5 feet of the mound was of yellow clay, the balance of the work being formed of dark surface soil. “At the base, 30 feet front the south margin, was a bed of burnt clay, on which were coals and ashes. In the center, also at the base, were the remains of a square wooden vault. The logs of which it was built were completely decayed, but the molds and impressions were still very distinct, so that they could be easily traced. This was about 10 feet square, and the logs were of considerable size, most of them nearly or quite a foot in diameter. At each...

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Bottle Creek Mounds

About twenty miles north of Mobile, the Tensaw separates from the Mobile river, running to the east by a very tortuous course as far as Stockton, then to the south, emptying into the east side of Mobile bay. Between these two rivers is enclosed a tract of land, twenty miles long and about seven wide, consisting of marsh and swamp land. Much of it is impassable; some of it quakes and sinks beneath the tread, and is covered with tall grass and aquatic plants; the larger portion supports heavy forests, and is called swamp land. Only small portions of the whole tract are dry even in dry weather, or elevated above the spring floods. North of the Tensaw, land of a similar character extends for ten miles. The tract between the two rivers is intersected by several creeks and rivers; Middle river, which is wide and deep, flows out of the Tensaw soon after the latter leaves the Mobile, and running southeast, empties again into the Tensaw; thus cutting off a triangular portion from the northeast corner of the tract. Again, Bottle creek leaves the Tensaw not far to the east of Middle river, and running south or west of south, empties into Middle river. In this latter triangular piece, are the mounds. This area is also intersected by the Dominique creek, which runs near to the west side...

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The Erection of Mounds

It has been perceived by a part of the preceding observations, that the Indian theology recognizes deities of Good and Evil, to one or both of whom they offer sacrifices. These sacrifices, when they are made to propitiate the deity, or avert a calamity, as sickness in the family, which is one of the most common and general modes of affliction in which an Indian s heart is melted into sympathy, these sacrifices, I remark, in such cases often consist of some cherished object in the animate or inanimate creation, hung up at the lodge door, on a high peeled pole, and exposed thus to dangle in the air. Scarlet cloth, which is a favorite color; ribbons, which are bought at a high price; the wings of a bird, or, when the appeal is strong, a small dog, which has first been devoted to the sacrificial knife, are thus offered. Other, and more general objects of request, calamities to be avoided, or luck to be secured, are expressed by some cherished thing, such as a piece of tobacco, which is deemed a sacred plant, thrown into the water or fire, or left upon a rock. Still another mode of making an acceptable offering, is by the incense of tobacco, burned in the pipe, the fumes of which, as they rise and mingle with the air, where gods and spirits...

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Antiquities of North America

In the absence of any written record of those numerous races which formerly peopled this hemisphere, information must be sought in their monuments, and in the disinterred relics of their ancient manner of life. These, considering the almost unbroken wilderness which presented itself to the first white adventurers, are surprisingly numerous. They indicate the former existence of populous nations, excelling in many of the arts of civilization, and capable, by their numbers and combination, of executing the most gigantic works for religion, public defense, and common oration of the dead. Such relics, though, for the most part, not immediately...

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Why and How did Native Americans Build Mounds

“Indian mound” is the common name for a variety of solid structures erected by some of the indigenous peoples of the United States. Most Native American tribes did not build mounds. The majority were constructed in the Lower Southeast, Ohio River Valley, Tennessee River Valley and the Mississippi River Valley. Some shell mounds can be found along the entire length of the United States’ Atlantic Coast.

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Peachtree Mound near Murphy, North Carolina

The Peachtree Site had one of the few Hierarchal Period mounds in the North Carolina Mountains that has been excavated by professional archaeologists. The Heye Foundation studied the mound during the early 1900s in the same period that it excavated the Nacoochee Mound in the Georgia Mountains. Unfortunately, this work was done in an era when neither precise aerial photography nor radiocarbon dating was possible. Also, archaeologists of this era were primarily interested in obtaining ‘trophy’ artifacts for their museum and benefactors in the Northeast. Little attention was given to the town as a whole, or its chronology. Most of the mound was destroyed. Farmers leveled what remained after the archaeologists left. However, many mounds are still visible on satellite color and infrared maps.

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Nacoochee Mound, Nation’s First Gold Rush

One of Georgia’s most beloved landmarks, the Nacoochee Mound, has a fascinating history For generations of Georgians, and now the endless line of Floridians seeking cool nights, the Nacoochee Mound has announced to passersby that they are REALLY in the mountains. It is the gateway to Helen, GA a tiny lumber mill hamlet that was remade into an “alpine village” and now is an international tourist attraction. One senses that mankind has been in the Nacoochee Valley a long, long time. It has that feeling of a place with history. Its true history will surprise you. There is a Georgia...

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