The Info List - Mound Builder (people)

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The various cultures collectively termed Mound
Builders were inhabitants of North America
North America
who, during a 5,000-year period, constructed various styles of earthen mounds for religious and ceremonial, burial, and elite residential purposes. These included the Pre-Columbian
cultures of the Archaic period; Woodland period
Woodland period
(Adena and Hopewell cultures); and Mississippian period; dating from roughly 3500 BCE (the construction of Watson Brake) to the 16th century CE, and living in regions of the Great Lakes, the Ohio River
Ohio River
Valley, and the Mississippi River
Mississippi River
valley and its tributary waters.[1] Since the 19th century, the prevailing scholarly consensus has been that the mounds were constructed by indigenous peoples of the Americas. Sixteenth-century Spanish explorers met natives living in a number of later Mississippian cities, described their cultures, and left artifacts.[2] Research and study of these cultures and peoples has been based mostly on archaeology and anthropology.


1 Woodland culture 2 Archaeological surveys 3 Reports of early European explorers 4 Mound
building cultures

4.1 Archaic era 4.2 Woodland period 4.3 Coles Creek culture 4.4 Mississippian cultures 4.5 Fort Ancient
Fort Ancient
culture 4.6 Plaquemine culture 4.7 Archaeological culture maps

5 Alternative explanations

5.1 Effects of alternative explanations

6 Hoaxes 7 See also 8 Notes 9 References 10 Further reading 11 External links

Woodland culture[edit]

A mound diagram of the platform mound showing the multiple layers of mound construction, mound structures such as temples or mortuaries, ramps with log stairs, and prior structures under later layers, multiple terraces, and intrusive burials.

During the 16th through 19th centuries, Europeans and Americans generally thought that a people other than one related to the historic Native Americans had built the mounds. The namesake cultural trait of the Mound
Builders was the building of mounds and other earthworks. These burial and ceremonial structures were typically flat-topped pyramids or platform mounds, flat-topped or rounded cones, elongated ridges, and sometimes a variety of other forms. They were generally built as part of complex villages. The early earthworks built in Louisiana
c. 3500 BCE are the only ones known to have been built by a hunter-gatherer culture. The best-known flat-topped pyramidal structure, which at more than 100 feet (30 m) tall is the largest pre-Columbian earthwork north of Mexico, is Monks Mound
Monks Mound
at Cahokia
in present-day Collinsville, Illinois. At its maximum about CE 1150, Cahokia
was an urban settlement with 20,000–30,000 people; this population was not exceeded by North American European settlements until after 1800.

A depiction of the Serpent Mound
in southern Ohio, as published in the magazine The Century, April 1890

Some effigy mounds were constructed in the shapes or outlines of culturally significant animals. The most famous effigy mound, Serpent Mound
in southern Ohio, ranges from 1 to just over 3 feet tall (30–100 cm)., 20 feet (6 m) wide, more than 1,330 feet (405 m) long, and shaped as an undulating serpent. Many different tribal groups and chiefdoms, involving an array of beliefs and unique cultures over thousands of years, built mounds as expressions of their cultures. The general term, "mound builder," covered their shared architectural practice of earthwork mound construction. This practice, believed to be associated with a cosmology that had a cross-cultural appeal, may indicate common cultural antecedents. The first mound building was an early marker of political and social complexity among the cultures in the Eastern United States. Watson Brake
Watson Brake
in Louisiana, constructed about 3500 BCE during the Middle Archaic period, is the oldest dated mound complex in North America. It is one of eleven mound complexes from this period found in the Lower Mississippi
Valley.[3] We can conclude that these mound builders were organized. Hundreds or even thousands of workers had to dig up tons of earth with the hand tools available, the dirt had to be moved long distances, and finally workers had to create the shape the builder had planned. Archaeological surveys[edit]

A depiction of the Portsmouth Earthworks
Portsmouth Earthworks
in Ancient Monuments of the Mississippi

The most complete reference for these earthworks is Ancient Monuments of the Mississippi
Valley, written by Ephraim G. Squier and Edwin H. Davis. It was published in 1848 by the Smithsonian
Institution. Since many of the features which the authors documented have since been destroyed or diminished by farming and development, their surveys, sketches, and descriptions are still used by modern archaeologists. All of the sites which they identified as located in Kentucky
came from the manuscripts of C. S. Rafinesque. Reports of early European explorers[edit]

Illustration of the Parkin Site, thought to be the capital of the Province of Casqui
visited by de Soto

Hernando de Soto, the Spanish conquistador who during 1540–1542 traversed what became the southeast United States, encountered many different mound-builder peoples, perhaps descendants of the great Mississippian culture. The mound-building tradition still existed in the southeast during the mid-sixteenth century. De Soto observed people living in fortified towns with lofty mounds and plazas, and surmised that many of the mounds served as foundations for priestly temples. Near present-day Augusta, Georgia, de Soto encountered a mound-building group ruled by a queen, Cofitachequi. She told him that the mounds within her territory served as the burial places for nobles.

Engraving after Jacques Le Moyne, showing the burial of a Timucua chief

The artist Jacques Le Moyne, who had accompanied French settlers to northeastern Florida during the 1560s, likewise noted many Native American groups using existing mounds and constructing others. He produced a series of watercolor paintings depicting scenes of native life. Although most of his paintings have been lost, some engravings were copied from the originals and published in 1591 by a Flemish company. Among these is a depiction of the burial of an aboriginal Floridian tribal chief, an occasion of great mourning and ceremony. The original caption reads:

“ Sometimes the deceased king of this province is buried with great solemnity, and his great cup from which he was accustomed to drink is placed on a tumulus with many arrows set about it. ”

— Jacques Le Moyne, 1560s

Maturin Le Petit, a Jesuit
priest met the Natchez people
Natchez people
as did Le Page du Pratz (1758), a French explorer. Both observed them in the area that later became Mississippi. The Natchez were devout worshippers of the sun. Having a population of some 4,000, they occupied at least nine villages and were presided over by a paramount chief, known as the Great Sun, who wielded absolute power. Both observers noted the high temple mounds which the Natchez had built so that the Great Sun could commune with God, the sun. His large residence was built atop the highest mound, from “which, every morning, he greeted the rising sun, invoking thanks and blowing tobacco smoke to the four cardinal directions.”[4][5][6] Later explorers to the same regions, only a few decades after mound-building settlements had been reported, found the regions largely depopulated, the residents vanished, and the mounds untended. Since there had been little violent conflict with Europeans in that area during that period, the most plausible explanation is that infectious diseases from the Old World, such as smallpox and influenza, had decimated most of the Native Americans who had comprised the last mound-builder civilization.[7][8][9][10] Mound
building cultures[edit] Archaic era[edit] Main article: Archaic period in the Americas

Illustration of Watson Brake, the oldest mound complex in North America

Illustration of Poverty Point
Poverty Point
in West Carroll Parish, Louisiana

Radiocarbon dating has established the age of the earliest Archaic mound complex in southeastern Louisiana. One of the two Monte Sano Site mounds, excavated in 1967 before being destroyed for new construction at Baton Rouge, was dated at 6220 BP (plus or minus 140 years).[11] Researchers at the time thought that such societies were not organizationally capable of this type construction.[11] It has since been dated as about 6500 BP, or 4500 BCE,[12] although not all agree.[13] Watson Brake
Watson Brake
is located in the floodplain of the Ouachita River
Ouachita River
near Monroe in northern Louisiana. Securely dated to about 5,400 years ago (approx. 3500 BCE), in the Middle Archaic period, it consists of a formation of 11 mounds from 3 to 25 feet (1-8m) tall, connected by ridges to form an oval nearly 900 feet (270m) across.[14] In the Americas, building of complex earthwork mounds started at an early date, well before the pyramids of Egypt were constructed. Watson Brake was being constructed nearly 2,000 years before the better-known Poverty Point, and building continued for 500 years.[14] Middle Archaic mound construction seems to have ceased about 2800 BC, and scholars have not ascertained the reason, but it may have been because of changes in river patterns or other environmental factors.[15] With the 1990s dating of Watson Brake
Watson Brake
and similar complexes, scholars established that pre-agricultural, pre-ceramic American societies could organize to accomplish complex construction during extended periods of time, invalidating scholars' traditional ideas of Archaic society.[16] Watson Brake
Watson Brake
was built by a hunter-gatherer society the people of which occupied the area on only a seasonal basis, but where successive generations organized to build the complex mounds over a 500-year period. Their food consisted mostly of fish and deer, as well as available plants. Poverty Point, built about 1500 BCE in what is now Louisiana, is a prominent example of Late Archaic mound-builder construction (c. 2500 BCE – 1000 BCE). It is a striking complex of more than one square mile, where six earthwork crescent ridges were built in concentric arrangement, interrupted by radial aisles. Three mounds are also part of the main complex, and evidence of residences extends for about 3 miles along the bank of Bayou Macon. It is the major site among 100 associated with the Poverty Point
Poverty Point
culture and is one of the best-known early examples of earthwork monumental architecture. Unlike the localized societies during the Middle Archaic, this culture showed evidence of a wide trading network outside its area, which is one of its distinguishing characteristics. Woodland period[edit]

Grave Creek Mound, Moundsville, West Virginia, Adena culture

Main article: Woodland period The Archaic period was followed by the Woodland period
Woodland period
(c. 1000 BCE). Some well-understood examples are the Adena culture
Adena culture
of Ohio, West Virginia, and parts of nearby states. The subsequent Hopewell culture built monuments from present-day Illinois
to Ohio; it is renowned for its geometric earthworks. The Adena and Hopewell were not the only mound-building peoples during this time period. There were contemporaneous mound-building cultures throughout what is now the eastern United States, stretching as far south as Crystal River in western Florida. During this time period, in parts of present-day Mississippi, Arkansas, and Louisiana, the Hopewellian Marksville culture degenerated and was succeeded by the Baytown culture.[17] Reasons for degeneration include attacks from other tribes or the impact of severe climatic changes undermining agriculture. Coles Creek culture[edit]

Illustration of Kings Crossing Site
Kings Crossing Site
in Warren County, Mississippi

Main article: Coles Creek culture The Coles Creek culture
Coles Creek culture
is a Late Woodland culture (700-1200 CE) in the Lower Mississippi Valley
Lower Mississippi Valley
in the southern United States that marks a significant change of the cultural history of the area. Population and cultural and political complexity increased, especially by the end of the Coles Creek period. Although many of the classic traits of chiefdom societies were not yet manifested, by CE 1000 the formation of simple elite polities had begun. Coles Creek sites are found in Arkansas, Louisiana, Oklahoma, Mississippi
and Texas. The Coles Creek culture is considered ancestral to the Plaquemine culture.[18][19] Mississippian cultures[edit]

Illustration of Cahokia
with the large Monks Mound
Monks Mound
in the central precinct, encircled by a palisade, surrounded by four plazas, notably the Grand Plaza to the south

Main article: Mississippian culture Around 900–1450 CE, the Mississippian culture
Mississippian culture
developed and spread through the eastern United States, primarily along the river valleys.[20] The largest regional center where the Mississippian culture is first definitely developed is located in Illinois
near the River Mississippi
and is referred to presently as Cahokia. It had several regional variants including the Middle Mississippian culture of Cahokia, the South Appalachian Mississippian variant at Moundville and Etowah, the Plaquemine Mississippian variant in south Louisiana and Mississippi,[21] and the Caddoan Mississippian culture
Mississippian culture
of northwestern Louisiana, eastern Texas, and southwestern Arkansas.[22] Like the Mound
Builders of the Ohio, these people built gigantic mounds as burial and ceremonial places.[23] Fort Ancient
Fort Ancient

SunWatch Indian Village
SunWatch Indian Village
in Dayton, Ohio

Main article: Fort Ancient
Fort Ancient
culture Fort Ancient
Fort Ancient
is the name for a Native American culture that flourished from 1000-1650 CE among a people who predominantly inhabited land along the Ohio River
Ohio River
in areas of modern-day southern Ohio, northern Kentucky
and western West Virginia. Scholars once thought this was an expansion of the Mississippian cultures, but they now believe the Fort Ancient culture was developed from the Hopewell culture. Plaquemine culture[edit]

Illustration of the Holly Bluff Site
Holly Bluff Site
in Yazoo County, Mississippi

Main article: Plaquemine culture A continuation of the Coles Creek culture
Coles Creek culture
in the lower Mississippi River Valley in western Mississippi
and eastern Louisiana. Examples include the Medora Site
Medora Site
in West Baton Rouge Parish, Louisiana; and the Anna and Emerald Mound
sites in Mississippi. Sites inhabited by Plaquemine peopless continued to be used as vacant ceremonial centers without large village areas much as their Coles Creek ancestors had done; although their layout began to show influences from Middle Mississippian peoples to the north. The Winterville and Holly Bluff (Lake George) sites in western Mississippi
are good examples that exemplify this change of layout but continuation of site usage.[24] During the Terminal Coles Creek period (CE 1150 to 1250) contact increased with Mississippian cultures centered upriver near St. Louis, Missouri. This resulted in the adaption of new pottery techniques, as well as new ceremonial objects and possibly new social patterns during the Plaquemine period.[25] As more Mississippian culture
Mississippian culture
influences were absorbed the Plaquemine area as a distinct culture began to shrink after CE 1350. Eventually the last enclave of purely Plaquemine culture was the Natchez Bluffs area, while the Yazoo Basin and adjacent areas of Louisiana
became a hybrid Plaquemine-Mississippian culture.[26] This division was recorded by Europeans when they first arrived in the area. In the Natchez Bluffs area, the Taensa
and Natchez people
Natchez people
had held out against Mississippian influence and continued to use the same sites as their ancestors, and the Plaquemine culture is considered directly ancestral to these historic period groups encountered by Europeans.[27] Groups who appear to have absorbed more Mississippian influence were identified as those tribes speaking the Tunican, Chitimachan, and Muskogean languages.[25] Archaeological culture maps[edit]

Hopewell traditions

Adena culture

Troyville culture
Troyville culture
and Baytown culture

Coles Creek culture

Mississippian culture

Caddoan Mississippian culture

Fort Ancient
Fort Ancient

Plaquemine culture

Alternative explanations[edit] Through the mid-nineteenth century, European Americans did not recognize that ancestors of the Native Americans had built the prehistoric mounds of the eastern U.S. They believed that the massive earthworks and large ceremonial complexes were built by a different people. A New York Times
New York Times
article from 1897 described a mound in Wisconsin in which a giant human skeleton measuring over nine feet in length was found.[28] From 1886, another New York Times
New York Times
article described water receding from a mound in Cartersville, Georgia
Cartersville, Georgia
which uncovered acres of skulls and bones, some of which were said to be gigantic. Two thigh bones were measured with the height of their owners estimated at 14 feet.[29] President Lincoln made reference to the giants whose bones fill the mounds of America.

"But still there is more. It calls up the indefinite past. When Columbus first sought this continent – when Christ suffered on the cross – when Moses led Israel
through the Red-Sea – nay, even, when Adam first came from the hand of his Maker – then as now, Niagara was roaring here. The eyes of that species of extinct giants, whose bones fill the mounds of America, have gazed on Niagara, as ours do now. Co[n]temporary with the whole race of men, and older than the first man, Niagara is strong, and fresh to-day as ten thousand years ago. The Mammoth and Mastodon – now so long dead, that fragments of their monstrous bones, alone testify, that they ever lived, have gazed on Niagara. In that long – long time, never still for a single moment. Never dried, never froze, never slept, never rested."[30]

The antiquarian author William Pidgeon created fraudulent surveys of mound groups that did not exist possibly tainting this opinion which was replaced by others.[31][32][33] A major factor in increasing public knowledge of the origins of the mounds was the 1894 report by Cyrus Thomas
Cyrus Thomas
of the Bureau of American Ethnology. He concluded that the prehistoric earthworks of the eastern United States were the work of early cultures of Native Americans. A small number of people had earlier made similar conclusions: Thomas Jefferson, for example, excavated a mound and from the artifacts and burial practices, noted similarities between mound-builder funeral practices and those of Native Americans in his time. In addition, Theodore Lewis
Theodore Lewis
in 1886 had refuted Pidgeon's fraudulent claims of pre-Native American moundbuilders.[34] Writers and scholars have proposed many alternative origins for the Mound


In 1787, Benjamin Smith Barton
Benjamin Smith Barton
proposed the theory that the Mound Builders were Vikings who came to North America
North America
and eventually disappeared.[35]

Ancient world immigrants

Other people believed that Greeks, Africans, Chinese or assorted Europeans built the mounds. Some Euro-Americans thought the Ten Lost Tribes of Israel
had built the mounds.[35]

Book of Mormon
Book of Mormon

See also: Archaeology
and the Book of Mormon During the 19th century a common belief was that the Jews, particularly the Lost Ten Tribes, were the ancestors of Native Americans and the Mound
Builders.[36] The Book of Mormon
Book of Mormon
(published first in 1830) provides a related belief, as its narrative describes two major immigrations to the Americas from Mesopotamia: the Jaredites (c. 3000–2000 BCE) and an Israelite group in 590 BCE (termed Nephites, Lamanites and Mulekites). While the Nephites, Lamanites, and Mulekites were all of Jewish origin coming from Israel
around 590 BCE, the Jaradites were a non-Abrahamic people separate in all aspects, except in a belief in Jehovah, from the Nephites. The Book of Mormon depicts these settlers building magnificent cities, which were destroyed by warfare about CE 385. Some Mormon scholars[who?] have considered The Book of Mormon narrative a description of the mound-building cultures; other Mormon apologists argue for a Mesoamerican or South American setting.[37] Theories about a Mesoamerican setting for the Book of Mormon
Book of Mormon
did not develop until after Latter-day Saints were influenced by publicized findings about the Central American stone ruins. This occurred after the Book of Mormon
Book of Mormon
was published.[38]

Black civilizations

During the 20th century, certain sects affiliated with the Black nationalist Moorish Science philosophy theorized an association with the Mound
Builders.[39][40] They argue that the Mound
Builders were an ancient advanced Black civilization that developed the legendary continents of Atlantis
and Mu, as well as ancient Egypt and Mesoamerica. These black groups claim that the American Indians were too primitive to have developed the sophisticated societies and the technology believed necessary to build the mounds.[citation needed]

Divine creation

The Reverend Landon West claimed that Serpent Mound
in Ohio
was built by God, or by man inspired by him. He believed that God built the mound and placed it as a symbol of the story of the Garden of Eden.[41][42]

Mythical cultures

Some people attributed the mounds to mythical cultures: Lafcadio Hearn suggested that the mounds were built by people from the Lost Continent of Atlantis.[35][43] Effects of alternative explanations[edit] The mound builder explanations were often honest misinterpretations of real data from valid sources. Both scholars and laymen accepted some of these explanations. Reference to an alleged race appears in the poem "The Prairies" (1832) by William Cullen Bryant.[44]

Assumption that construction was too complex for Indians

One belief was that American Indians were too unsophisticated to have constructed such complex earthworks and artifacts. The associated stone, metal, and clay artifacts were thought to be too complex for the Indians to have made. In the American Southeast, and Midwest, numerous Indian cultures were sedentary and used agriculture. Numerous Indian towns had built surrounding stockades for defense. Capable of this type of construction, they and ancestors could have built mounds, but people who believed that the Indians did not build the earthworks did not analyze it in this manner. They thought the Native American nomadic cultures would not organize to build such monuments, for failure to devote the time and effort to construct such time-consuming projects.[35] When most British colonists first arrived in America, they never witnessed the American Indians building mounds, and they found that few Indians knew of their history when asked. Yet earlier Europeans, especially the Spanish, had written numerous non-English-language accounts about the Indians' construction of mounds. Garcilaso de la Vega reported how the Indians built the mounds and placed temples on top of them. A few French expeditions reported staying with Indian societies who built mounds.[35]

Assumption construction older than Indians

People also claimed that the Indians were not the Mound
Builders because the mounds and related artifacts were older than Indian cultures. Caleb Atwater's misunderstanding of stratigraphy caused him to believe that the Mound
Builders were a much older civilization than the Indians. In his book, Antiquities Discovered in the Western States (1820), Atwater claimed that Indian remains were always found right beneath the surface of the earth. Since the artifacts associated with the Mound
Builders were found fairly deep in the ground, Atwater argued that they must be from a different group of people. The discovery of metal artifacts further convinced people that the Mound Builders were not Native Americans. The Indians encountered by the Europeans and Americans were not thought to engage in metallurgy. Some artifacts that were found in relation to the mounds were inscribed with symbols. As the Europeans did not know of any Indian cultures that had a writing system, they assumed a different group had created them.[35] Hoaxes[edit]

Panoramic view from within the Great Circle at the Newark Earthworks in Newark, Ohio
(wall of which can be seen in the background)

Several hoaxes were associated with the Mound
Builder cultures.

Newark Holy Stones

In 1860, David Wyrick discovered the "Keystone tablet", containing Hebrew language
Hebrew language
inscriptions written on it, in Newark, Ohio. Soon afterward, he found the "Newark Decalogue Stone" nearby, also claimed to be inscribed in Hebrew. The authenticity of the "Newark Holy Stones" and the circumstances of their discovery are disputed.[35]

Davenport tablets

Reverend Jacob Gass discovered what were called the Davenport tablets. These bore inscriptions that later were determined to be fake.[35]

Walam Olum
Walam Olum

The Walam Olum
Walam Olum
hoax had considerable influence on perceptions of the Mound
Builders. In 1836 Constantine Samuel Rafinesque
Constantine Samuel Rafinesque
published his translation of a text he claimed had been written in pictographs on wooden tablets. This text explained that the Lenape
Indians originated in Asia, told of their passage over the Bering Strait, and narrated their subsequent migration across the North American continent. This "Walam Olum" tells of battles with native peoples already in America before the Lenape
arrived. People hearing of the account believed that the "original people" were the Mound
Builders, and that the Lenape overthrew them and destroyed their culture. David Oestreicher later asserted that Rafinesque's account was a hoax. He argued that the Walam Olum
Walam Olum
glyphs were derived from Chinese, Egyptian, and Mayan alphabets. Meanwhile, the belief that the Native Americans destroyed the mound builder culture had gained widespread acceptance.[35]

Kinderhook plates

The Kinderhook plates, "discovered" in 1843, were another hoax, consisting of material planted by a contemporary in Native American mounds. This hoax was intended to discredit the account of the Mormon prophet Joseph Smith
Joseph Smith
having translated an ancient book.[45][46] See also[edit]

List of burial mounds in the United States Petroforms Serpent Mound Southeastern Ceremonial Complex Southwestern Moundbuilders, athletic teams of Southwestern College in Winfield, Kansas Tumulus, mounds (or barrows) of Europe and Asia Tumulus


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Historical Society. Ohio
history, Volume 10. Retrieved 2011-07-25. The Garden of Eden, it seems, is now definitely located. The site is in Ohio, "Adams" county, to be more precise...The Rev. Landon West of Pleasant Hill, O., a prominent and widely known minister of the Baptist church... arrives at the conclusion that this great work was created either by God himself or by man inspired by Him to make an everlasting object lesson of man's disobedience, Satan's perfidy and the results of sin and death. In support of this startling claim the Rev. Mr. West quotes Scripture and refers to Job 16:13: "By His spirit. He hath garnished the heavens; His hand hath formed the crooked serpent."  ^ Brook Wilensky-Lanford (May 23, 2011). "Adam and Eve –and Reverend West – in Ohio". The Common. The Eden I found in a 1909 pamphlet by Reverend Landon West—the Serpent Mound
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Heifer Project
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Abrams, Elliot M.; Freter, AnnCorinne, eds. (2005). The Emergence of the Moundbuilders: The Archaeology
of Tribal Societies in Southeastern Ohio. Athens: Ohio
University Press. ISBN 978-0-8214-1609-9.  Thomas, Cyrus. Report on the mound explorations of the Bureau of Ethnology. pp. 3–730. Twelfth annual report of the Bureau of Ethnology to the Secretary of the Smithsonian
Institution, 1890–91, by J. W. Powell, Director. XLVIII+742 pp., 42 pls., 344 figs. 1894. Feder, Kenneth L. Frauds, Myths, and Mysteries: Science and Pseudoscience in Archaeology. 5th ed. New York: McGraw Hill, 2006. Squier, E.G.; Davis, E.H. (1847). Ancient Monuments of the Mississippi Valley. Washington DC: Smithsonian

Further reading[edit]

Gale, George (1867). Upper Mississippi: or, Historical Sketches of the Mound-builders, the Indian tribes and the Progress of Civilization in the North-west, from A.D. 1600 to the Present Time. Chicago: Clarke. 

External links[edit]

has the text of the 1911 Encyclopædia Britannica article Mound-builders.

Lost Race Myth LenaweeHistory.com Mound
Builders section, The Western Historical Society 1909, reprint. Artist Hideout, Art of the Ancients Ancient Monuments Placemarks

The Mound
Builders at Project Gutenberg With Climate Swing, a Culture Bloomed in Americas (mound builders in Peru) Science 19 September 1997 (a mound complex in Louisiana
at 5400u–5000 years ago) Bruce Smith video on the 1880s Smithsonian
explorations to determine who built the ancient earthen mounds in eastern North America
North America
can be viewed as part of the series 19th Century Explorers and Anthropologists: Developing the Earliest Smithsonian
Anthropology Collections

v t e

North America

Periods Lithic Archaic Formative Classic Post-Classic

Archaeological cultures

Adena Alachua Ancient Beringian Ancient Pueblo
(Anasazi) Baytown Belle Glade Buttermilk Creek Complex Caborn-Welborn Calf Creek Caloosahatchee Clovis Coles Creek Comondú Deptford Folsom Fort Ancient Fort Walton Fremont Glacial Kame Glades Hohokam Hopewell

List of Hopewell sites

La Jolla Las Palmas Leon-Jefferson Mississippian

List of Mississippian sites

Mogollon Monongahela Old Cordilleran Oneota Paleo-Arctic Paleo-Indians Patayan Plano Plaquemine Poverty Point Red Ocher Santa Rosa-Swift Creek St. Johns Steed-Kisker Tchefuncte Tocobaga Troyville

Archaeological sites

Angel Mounds Anzick Clovis burial Bandelier National Monument Blue Spring Shelter The Bluff Point Stoneworks Cahokia Candelaria Cave Casa Grande Chaco Canyon Coso Rock Art District Crystal River Archaeological State Park Cuarenta Casas Cueva de la Olla Eaker El Fin del Mundo El Vallecito Effigy Mounds National Monument Etowah Indian Mounds Eva Folsom Site Fort Ancient Fort Center Fort Juelson Four Mounds Site Gila Cliff Dwellings National Monument Glenwood Grimes Point Holly Bluff Site Hopewell Culture National Historical Park Huápoca Kimball Village Kincaid Mounds Kolomoki Mounds L'Anse aux Meadows Marksville Marmes Rockshelter Meadowcroft Rockshelter Mesa Verde Moaning Cavern Moorehead Circle Morrison Mounds Moundville Mummy
Cave Nodena Site Ocmulgee National Monument Old Stone Fort Orwell Site Paquime Parkin Park Pinson Mounds Portsmouth Earthworks Poverty Point Pueblo
Bonito Recapture Canyon Rock Eagle Rock Hawk Russell Cave
National Monument Salmon Ruins Serpent Mound Sierra de San Francisco Spiro Mounds SunWatch Taos Pueblo Toltec Mounds Town Creek Indian Mound Turkey River Mounds Upward Sun River site West Oak Forest Earthlodge Winterville Wupatki National Monument

Human remains

Anzick-1 Arlington Springs Man Buhl Woman Kennewick Man La Brea Woman Leanderthal Lady Minnesota Woman Spirit Cave


Aridoamerica Black drink Ceremonial pipe Chunkey Clovis point Container Revolution Eastern Agricultural Complex Eden point Effigy mound Falcon dancer Folsom point Green Corn Ceremony Horned Serpent Kiva Medicine wheel Metallurgy Mi'kmaq hieroglyphic writing Mound
Builders N.A.G.P.R.A. Norse colonization of North America Oasisamerica Piasa Southeastern Ceremonial Complex Stickball Three Sisters agriculture Thunderbird Underwater panther Water glyphs

Related Genetic history Portal
of Indigenous peoples of North America Pre-Columbian

v t e

Adena Culture

List of Adena culture
Adena culture
sites Woodland period Mound
builder (people) List of archaeological periods (North America)


Adena Austin Brown Arledge Beam Farm Clemmons Conrad Coon Hunters George Deffenbaugh Enon Fortner Great Mound Highbanks Metro Park Hillside Haven Hodgen's Cemetery Horn Hurley Jackson Karshner Kinzer Luthor List McDaniel Miamisburg Mound
Cemetery Odd Fellows' Cemetery Old Maid's Orchard Orators Carl Potter Raleigh Reeves D.S. Rose Ross Trails Circle Short Woods Park Shrum Snead Spruce Run David Stitt Story (Cincinnati) Story (Chillicothe) Williamson Wolf Plains Wright-Patterson Zaleski


Biggs Gaitskill Mound
Hill Mount Horeb Ramey Round Hill

West Virginia
West Virginia

Criel Grave Creek

Indiana sites

Mounds State Park

Related topics Ancient Monuments of the Mississippi
Valley burial mound Eastern Agricultural Complex Hopewell tradition

v t e

Hopewellian peoples

Woodland period List of Hopewell sites Mound
builder (people) List of archaeological periods (North America)


Beam Farm Benham Mound Cary Village Site Cedar-Bank Works Dunns Pond Mound Ellis Mounds Ety Enclosure Ety Habitation Site Fort Ancient Fortified Hill Works Great Hopewell Road High Banks Works Hopeton Earthworks Hopewell Culture National Historical Park Indian Mound
Cemetery Keiter Mound Marietta Earthworks Moorehead Circle Mound
of Pipes Nettle Lake Mound
Group Newark Earthworks Oak Mounds Orators Perin Village Site Pollock Works Portsmouth Earthworks Rocky Fork Enclosures Rocky Fork Mounds Seip Earthworks and Dill Mounds District Shawnee Lookout Stubbs Earthworks Tremper Mound
and Works Williamson Mound
Archeological District

Crab Orchard culture

Carrier Mills Archaeological District Cleiman Mound Hubele Site Mann Site O'byams Fort site Wilson Site Yankeetown Site

Goodall Focus

Goodall Site Norton Mound

Havana Hopewell culture

Albany Mounds State Historic Site Dickson Mounds Duncan Farm Golden Eagle-Toppmeyer Site Kamp Mound
Site Mound
House site Naples Archeological District Naples Mound
8 Ogden-Fettie Site Rockwell Mound Sinnissippi Mounds Toolesboro Mound

Kansas City Hopewell

Cloverdale archaeological site Renner Village Archeological Site Trowbridge Archeological Site

Marksville culture

Crooks Mound Grand Gulf Mound Marksville Prehistoric Indian Site Mott Archaeological Preserve

Miller culture

Bynum Mound
and Village Site Ingomar Mound Miller Site Pharr Mounds Pinson Mounds

Point Peninsula Complex

Lewiston Mound Serpent Mounds Park LeVescounte Mounds

Swift Creek culture Santa Rosa-Swift Creek culture

Crystal River Archaeological State Park Etowah Indian Mounds Leake Mounds Kolomoki Mounds
Kolomoki Mounds
Historic Park Miner's Creek site Pierce Site Swift Creek mound site Third Gulf Breeze Yearwood site Yent Mound

Other Hopewellian peoples

Armstrong culture Copena culture Fourche Maline culture Laurel Complex Saugeen Complex Old Stone Fort (Tennessee)

Exotic trade items

Copper Galena Mica Fresh water pearls Obsidian Pipestone Sea shells

Related topics Ancient Monuments of the Mississippi
Valley Black drink burial mound Ceremonial pipe Effigy mound Hopewell pottery Horned Serpent Eastern Agricultural Complex Underwater panther

v t e

Late Woodland cultures

builder (people) List of archaeological periods (North America)


Baum site Beattie Park Mound
Group Book Site Bowen Site (12 MA 61) Brinsfield I Site Brokaw Site Clampitt Site (12-LR-329) Fisher Site Hoye Site Little Maquoketa River Mounds State Preserve Man Mound Memorial Park Site Nottingham Site Ormond Mound St. Croix River Access Site Sommerheim Park University of Tennessee Agriculture Farm Mound


Alachua culture Clemson Island culture Manahoac Monongahela culture Oliver Phase Springwells Phase Weeden Island culture

Related topics Steuben point Belle Glade culture Extreme weather events of 535–536 Fort Ancient
Fort Ancient
culture Mississippian culture Oneota St. Johns culture

v t e

Coles Creek and Plum Bayou cultures

Late Woodland period List of archaeological periods (North America)

Coles Creek sites

Aden Site Balmoral Mounds Boone's Mounds Churupa Plantation Mound Coles Creek Site Crippen Point site Cypress Grove Mound DePrato Mounds Greenhouse Site Feltus Mound
Site Filhiol Mound
Site Fisher Site Flowery Mound Frogmore Mound
Site Ghost Site Mounds Greenhouse Site Insley Mounds Kings Crossing Site Lamarque Landing Mound Marsden Mounds Mazique Archeological Site Mott Mounds Mound
Plantation Peck Mounds Raffman Site Scott Place Mounds Shackleford Church Mounds Spanish Fort Sundown Mounds Transylvania Mounds Troyville Earthworks Venable Mound Wade Landing Mound

Coastal Coles Creek sites

Atchafalaya Basin Mounds Bayou Black Mound
(16TR78) Bayou Cypremont (16SMY7) Bayou Grande Cheniere Mounds Bayou L’Ours Site Bayou Portage Mounds Bayou Sorrel Mounds (16IV4) Clovelly Site (16LF64) Cypress Point Site (16VM112) Eagle Point Site (16IB123) Gibson Mounds (16TR5) Greenwood Cemetery Site (16SMY10) Kleinpeter Mounds Little Cheniere Site (16CM22) Little Pecan Island Site Jerry Haas Site (16SJ51) Machias Lake (16SB2) Morgan Mounds Pecan Mounds (16SM37) Pennison Mounds (16AS16) Portage Mounds (16SM5) Richeau Field Site (16TR82) Schwing Place Mound
(16IV13) Sims Site Southwest of Cut Off Lagoon (16SB50) St. Gabriel Mounds (16IV128) Temple Mounds Site (16LF4)

Plum Bayou sites

Baytown Site Chandler Landing Site Coy Site Dogtown Site Hayes site Maberry Site Roland Site Toltec Mounds

Related topics Eastern Agricultural Complex Fourche Maline culture Mississippian culture Natchez Plaquemine culture Platform mound Taensa Troyville culture

v t e

Mississippian and related cultures

List of Mississippian sites Timeline of Mississippi

Middle Mississippian

American Bottom and Upper Mississippi

Aztalan Big Eddy Cahokia

Monks Mound Mound
34 Mound
72 Woodhenge

Cloverdale Dickson Mounds Emerald Acropolis Emmons Cemetery Horseshoe Lake John Chapman Kuhn Station Larson Lunsford-Pulcher McCune Mitchell Orendorf Sleeth Steed-Kisker culture Sugarloaf Mound

Lower Ohio River
Ohio River
and Confluence area

Adams Dogtooth Bend Kincaid Mounds Marshall Millstone Bluff Orr-Herl Rowlandton Mound Towosahgy Turk Twin Mounds Ware Wickliffe Mounds

Middle Ohio

Angel Mounds Angel Phase Annis Mound Bone Bank Caborn-Welborn culture Ellerbusch Hovey Lake-Klein Hovey Lake District Murphy Prather Slack Farm Tolu Welborn Village Yankeetown

Tennessee and Cumberland

Backusburg Beasley Mounds Brentwood Library Brick Church Castalian Springs Dunbar Cave Fewkes Group Mound
Bottom Riverview Sellars Obion Old Town Swallow Bluff

Central and Lower Mississippi

Belle Meade Boone's Boyd Campbell Carson Chucalissa Eaker Janet's Menard-Hodges Murphy Nodena

Nodena Phase

Owl Creek Parkin Tipton Phase Tunica

Koroa Yazoo

Walls Phase

South Appalachian Mississippian

Adamson Avery Beaverdam Creek Bell Field Mound Bessemer Bussell Island Chauga Chiaha Chota Citico Coosa Dallas Phase Dyar Etowah Garden Creek Hoojah Branch Irene Jere Shine Joara Joe Bell King Lamar Lamar Phase Liddell Little Egypt Long Swamp Mabila Mandeville McMahan Moccasin Bend Moundville Mouse Creek Phase Mulberry Muscogee (Creek) Nacoochee Nikwasi Ocmulgee Park Mound Pisgah Phase Punk Rock Shelter Rembert Roods Landing Rucker's Bottom Savannah Shiloh Sixtoe Summerour Tomotley Toqua Town Creek Waddells Mill Pond Wilbanks

Fort Walton culture

Anhaica Apalachee Apalachee
Province Cayson Corbin-Tucker Fort Walton Mound Lake Jackson Leon-Jefferson Culture Letchworth Velda Yon

Pensacola culture

Bottle Creek Dauphin Island Fort Walton Hickory Ridge Cemetery Naval Live Oaks Cemetery Pensacola people

Plaquemine Mississippian

Anna Atchafalaya Basin Emerald Fitzhugh Flowery Fosters Ghost Glass Grand Village of the Natchez Holly Bluff Jaketown Jordan Julice Mangum Mazique Medora Mott Natchez


Pocahontas Routh Scott Place Sims Transylvania Venable Winterville

Caddoan Mississippian

Battle Belcher Blue Spring Shelter Bluffton Caddo Caddoan Mounds Gahagan Hughes Ka-Do-Ha Indian Village Keller Spiro

Upper Mississippian cultures


Beattie Park Mound
Group Blood Run Hartley Fort State Preserve Roche-a-Cri Petroglyphs

Fort Ancient
Fort Ancient

Alligator Effigy Mound Clover Dodge Leo Petroglyph Serpent Mound SunWatch Indian Village



Beans Chenopodium Little barley Maize Marshelder Pumpkin Squash Sunflower Three Sisters Tobacco


Emmons mask Copper

Rogan plates Spiro plates Wulfing cache

Long-nosed god maskette Mill Creek chert Pottery Shell gorget Stone statuary


Caddoan Central Algonquian Cherokee Mobilian Jargon Muskogean Natchez


Siouan Timucuan Tunican Yuchi


Ballgame (Southeastern)


Black drink Burial mound Ceremonial pipe


Chunkey Earth/fertility cult Green Corn Ceremony Horned Serpent Platform mound Red Horn Sacred bundle

Village bundle

Southeastern Ceremonial Complex Stone box grave Thunderbird Underwater panther

Related topics Chevron bead Clarksdale bell Mound
Builder de Soto Expedition

v t e

Fort Ancient
Fort Ancient

List of archaeological periods (North America) Mound
builder (people)

Anderson Focus

Fort Ancient
Fort Ancient
Site Hine Site Kemp Site State Line Site SunWatch Indian Village

Baum Focus

Alligator Effigy Mound Baldwin Site Baum Site Gartner Site Serpent Mound

Feurt Focus

Buffalo Indian Village Site Feurt Mounds and Village Site Hardin Village Site Leo Petroglyph Hobson Site

Madisonville Focus

Buckner Site Clay Mound Cleek-McCabe Site Clover Site Fox Farm Site Hahns Field Site Larkin Site Lower Shawneetown Madisonville Site Ronald Watson Gravel Site Sand Ridge Site Turpin Site

Related topics Bone Stone Graves Bone Mound
II Cole culture Mississippian culture Monongahela culture Oliver Phase Oneota Owasco culture Springwells Phase

v t e

Prehistoric technology


timeline outline Stone Age subdivisions New Stone Age






founder crops New World crops

Ard / plough Celt Digging stick Domestication Goad Irrigation Secondary products Sickle Terracing

Food processing

Fire Basket Cooking

Earth oven

Granaries Grinding slab Ground stone Hearth

Aşıklı Höyük Qesem Cave

Manos Metate Mortar and pestle Pottery Quern-stone Storage pit


Arrow Boomerang

throwing stick

Bow and arrow


Nets Spear

Spear-thrower baton harpoon woomera Schöningen Spears

Projectile points

Arrowhead Bare Island Cascade Clovis Cresswell Cumberland Eden Folsom Lamoka Manis Site Plano Transverse arrowhead


Game drive system

Buffalo jump


Earliest toolmaking

Oldowan Acheulean Mousterian

Clovis culture Cupstone Fire hardening Gravettian
culture Hafting Hand axe


Langdale axe industry Levallois technique Lithic core Lithic reduction

analysis debitage flake

Lithic technology Magdalenian
culture Metallurgy Microblade technology Mining Prepared-core technique Solutrean
industry Striking platform Tool stone Uniface Yubetsu technique

Other tools

Adze Awl


Axe Bannerstone Blade


Bone tool Bow drill Burin Canoe

Oar Pesse canoe



Cleaver Denticulate tool Fire plough Fire-saw Hammerstone Knife Microlith Quern-stone Racloir Rope Scraper


Stone tool Tally stick Weapons Wheel




Göbekli Tepe Kiva Standing stones

megalith row Stonehenge



architecture British megalith architecture Nordic megalith architecture Burdei Cave Cliff dwelling Dugout Hut

Quiggly hole

Jacal Longhouse Mud brick


long house Pit-house Pueblitos Pueblo Rock shelter

Blombos Cave Abri de la Madeleine Sibudu Cave

Stone roof Roundhouse Stilt house

Alp pile dwellings

Wattle and daub

Water management

Check dam Cistern Flush toilet Reservoir Water well

Other architecture

Archaeological features Broch Burnt mound

fulacht fiadh

Causewayed enclosure

Tor enclosure

Circular enclosure


Cursus Henge


Oldest buildings Megalithic architectural elements Midden Timber circle Timber trackway

Sweet Track

Arts and culture

Material goods

Baskets Beadwork Beds Chalcolithic Clothing/textiles


Cosmetics Glue Hides

shoes Ötzi


amber use

Mirrors Pottery

Cardium Grooved ware Linear Jōmon Unstan ware

Sewing needle Weaving Wine

Winery wine press


Art of the Upper Paleolithic Art of the Middle Paleolithic

Blombos Cave

List of Stone Age
Stone Age
art Bird stone Bradshaw rock paintings Cairn Carved Stone Balls Cave

painting pigment

Cup and ring mark Geoglyph Golden hats Guardian stones Megalithic art Petroform Petroglyph Petrosomatoglyph Pictogram Rock art

Stone carving

Sculpture Statue menhir Stone circle

list British Isles and Brittany

Venus figurines


Burial mounds

Bowl barrow Round barrow

Builders culture

U.S. sites

Chamber tomb



Dartmoor kistvaens

Clava cairn Court tomb Cremation Dolmen

Great dolmen

Funeral pyre Gallery grave

transepted wedge-shaped

Grave goods Jar burial Long barrow

unchambered Grønsalen

Megalithic tomb Mummy Passage grave Rectangular dolmen Ring cairn Simple dolmen Stone box grave Tor cairn Tumulus Unchambered long cairn

Other cultural


sites lunar calendar

Behavioral modernity Origin of language


Prehistoric medicine Evolutionary musicology

music archaeology

Prehistoric music

Alligator drum flutes Divje Babe flute gudi

Prehistoric numerals Origin of religion

Paleolithic religion Prehistoric religion Spiritual drug use

Prehistoric warfare Symbo