Published on Apr 27, 2015
This video is about the Black Native American mound builders.
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
The varying cultures collectively called Mound Builders were inhabitants of 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 (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 Valley, and the Mississippi River valley and its tributary waters.
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 made contact with natives living in a number of later Mississippian cities, described their cultures, and left artifacts. By the time of United States westward expansion two hundred years later, Native Americans were generally not knowledgeable about the civilizations that produced the mounds. Research and study of these cultures and peoples has been based mostly on archaeology and anthropology.
Name and culture
At one time, the term “mound builder” was applied to the people believed to have constructed these earthworks. In 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 that arose from more dense populations, with a specialization of skills and knowledge. The early earthworks built in Louisiana c. 3500 BCE are the only ones known to be built by a hunter-gatherer culture.
The best-known flat-topped pyramidal structure, which at over 100 feet (30 m) tall is the largest pre-Columbian earthwork north of Mexico, is Monks Mound at Cahokia Indian Mounds in present-day Collinsville, Illinois. At its peak about 1150 CE, Cahokia was an urban settlement with 20,000-30,000 people; this population was not exceeded by North American European settlements until after 1800.
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, over 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 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.
We can conclude that these mound builders were very organized people. Hundreds or even thousands of workers had to dig up tons of earth with the hand tools available. Then the dirt had to be moved very long distances, and finally workers had to create the shape the builder had planned.
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. 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.
A smaller regional study in 1931 by author and archaeologist Fred Dustin charted and examined the mounds and Ogemaw Earthworks near Saginaw, Michigan. Archaeological survey and recording of mounds is an ongoing scholarly task.