Native American cultures in the Great Lakes region, the Ohio River Valley, and the Mississippi River Valley built distinctive large earthen mounds over more than 5,000 years in the United States.
Nineteenth-century academics hypothesized that Native Americans were too primitive to associate with the hills, suggesting instead that they belonged to a lost culture that vanished before the arrival of Columbus in 1492.
One of the first theories suggested that the hill builders were in fact of northern origin who settled in the Americas and migrated south to become the Toltecs in Tula, Mexico.
Subsequent theories linked them to descendants of the Israelites, ancient Egyptians, Welsh, Irish, Greeks, Chinese, Phoenicians, and even crossed into the realm of pseudoscience, suggesting their connection to the lost continent of Atlantis.
Why Tilal Distinguished?
Correct academic studies have shown that the mounds were constructed by Native American cultures between about 3500 BC. and the 16th century AD, which includes part of the Archaic period (8000 to 1000 BC), the Forest period (1000 BC to 1000 AD), and the Mississippi period (800 AD to 1600 AD).
One of the oldest mound complexes was built at Watson Brake in Louisiana around 3500 BC. during the ancient period. The site was developed over the centuries by the pre-agricultural and pre-ceramic hunter-gatherer community that occupied the site seasonally.
The builders built an arrangement of eleven mounds of earth about 7.6 meters high, connected to each other by ridges to form an elliptical complex.
Another early site is Poverty Point, a ceremonial mound and hill complex located in Bayou Macon, also in Louisiana. The poverty point was built in several stages, the earliest of which was around 1800 BC. During the Late Archaic period, it lasted until 1200 BC.
One of the oldest hill complexes
The Builders were a community of hunters, hunters, and gatherers, identified as the poverty point culture, who inhabited tracts of the lower Mississippi Valley and the surrounding Gulf Coast.
The levees consist of six concentric C-shaped ridges that extend three-quarters of a mile along the outer edge. The most distinctive features at ground level are the mounds built from a loamy type of soil up to 21.9 meters high.
During the Woodland period, hill-building cultures were present throughout the eastern United States, as far as the Crystal River in western Florida. One such culture is the Adena culture in Ohio, which primarily built burial mounds for burial rituals, stacking earth directly over a burning funeral building to form the memorial.
Also in Ohio, during the Woodland period, there is the Hopewell culture, an assemblage of a widely dispersed population connected by a common network of trade routes.
Burial Mound House Complex
The people of this culture built the intricate geometric mounds used in burials and burials in the shape of twisted animals, birds, or snakes.
Hopewell created some of the most beautiful crafts and artwork in the Americas. Most of their works had some religious significance, and their tombs were filled with necklaces, ornate bones or wood carvings, ornate ceremonial pottery, earplugs, and pendants.
During the Mississippi period, hill building reached new heights, as cultures such as the Plaquemine and Mississippian culture built giant mounds and settlements that rivaled European cities in size at the time.
The most famous of these is Cahokia, a center of Mississippi culture built around AD 1050. in western Illinois. Cahokia contained 120 mounds of land.
Why were the hills abandoned?
The mounds ranged in size and shape from raised platforms to conical designs and hilltops, the largest of which is the Monks’ Mound, a 290-meter platform of raised terraces, according to HeritageDaily.
After Europeans arrived in the Americas, early explorers found that the lands of the hill builders were largely depopulated and the hills largely deserted. However, there are some accounts describing how Native Americans built the hills and their cultural practices.
One of the last mound-building cultures, the ancient fortress culture, likely came into contact and trade with Europeans, as evidence of European-made goods can be found in the archaeological record. These handicrafts include brass and steel items, glassware, and melted or broken merchandise that are reshaped into new items.
The Fort Ancient culture was largely wiped out by successive waves of diseases such as smallpox and influenza in the seventeenth century, suggesting that the demographic decline of the broader hill-building cultures in this period was also the result of diseases introduced by early contact Europeans.
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