Beginning around 1,100 years ago, the Mississippian Culture became the third and final group of mound builders in the eastern U.S. In contrast to earlier inhabitants at Poverty Point and Effigy Mounds, they were the first to rely heavily on agriculture. Located in Macon, Georgia, Ocmulgee Mounds National Historical Park (formerly National Monument) is one of many examples of temple mounds from this time period.
Indian mounds, museum, film, Opelofa Nature Trail
Artifacts dating back to 8000 BCE can be found in the National Park Service museum. On your walk to the mounds, stop in the reconstructed 42-foot wide earthlodge. It was an important meeting place for religious leaders (similar to a great kiva) and offers a glimpse into the Mississippian Culture. There is also evidence of an English trading post from 1690 and trenches from the Civil War.
Walk from the visitor center, under the railroad tracks, and up the stairs to access the top of the 55-foot tall Great Temple Mound. Then watch for wildlife along the Opelofa Nature Trail in the Walnut Creek wetlands.
The Mississippian Culture had a complex social hierarchy, with a royal Great Sun who lived atop this flat-topped temple mound and traveled on a canopied litter carried by servants. When a Great Sun died his people made human sacrifices so he would not enter the afterlife alone.
Open year round
All roads paved
Indian Springs and High Falls State Parks are both about 35 miles from the park.
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