List of burial mounds in the United States

This is a list of notable burial mounds in the United States built by Native Americans. Burial mounds were built by many different cultural groups over a span of many thousands of years, beginning in the Late Archaic period and continuing through the Woodland period up to the time of European contact.

Adena and Hopewell culture burial mounds

Mound Location Date Culture Notes
Bynum Mound and Village Site Chickasaw County, Mississippi 100 BCE to 100 CE Miller culture (part of the Hopewell tradition) A Middle Woodland period archaeological site located near Houston, Mississippi. The complex of six conical shaped mounds was in use during the Miller 1 and Miller 2 phases of the Miller culture.[1][2] and was built between 100 BCE and 100 CE. It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1989 as part of the Natchez Trace Parkway at milepost 232.4.
Carl Potter Mound Champaign County, Ohio ? ? Also known as the "Hodge Mound II", it is located in southern Champaign County, Ohio near Mechanicsburg,[3] it lies on a small ridge in a pasture field in southeastern Union Township.
Conus Marietta Earthworks, Marietta, Ohio 100 BCE to 500 CE Adena culture The conical Great Mound at Mound Cemetery is part of a mound complex known as the Marietta Earthworks, which includes the nearby Quadranaou and Capitolium platform mounds, the Sacra Via walled mounds (largely destroyed in 1882), and three enclosures.[4]
Criel Mound South Charleston, West Virginia 250 to 150 BCE Adena culture Located in South Charleston, West Virginia, the mound lies equidistant between two "sacred circles", earthwork enclosures each 556 feet (169 m) in diameter. It was originally 33 feet (10 m) high and 173 feet (53 m) in diameter at the base, making it the second-largest such burial mound in the state.
Crooks Mound La Salle Parish, Louisiana 100 BCE to 400 CE Early Marksville culture A large Marksville culture mound site in La Salle Parish in south central Louisiana. It is a large conical mound that was part of at least six episodes of burials. It measured about 16 ft high (4.9 m) and 85 ft wide (26 m). It contained roughly 1,150 remains that were placed however they were able to be fit into the structure of the mound. Sometimes body parts were removed in order to achieve that goal. Archaeologists think it was a holding house for the area that was emptied periodically in order to achieve this type of setup.[5]
Dunns Pond Mound Logan County, Ohio ca. 300 to 500 CE Ohio Hopewell culture Located in northeastern Ohio near Huntsville,[3] it lies along the southeastern corner of Indian Lake in Washington Township. In 1974, the mound was listed on the National Register of Historic Places as a potential archeological site, with much of its significance deriving from its use as a burial site for as much as nine centuries.
Grave Creek Mound Moundsville, West Virginia 250 to 150 BCE Adena culture At 69 feet (21 m) high and 295 feet (90 m) in diameter, the Grave Creek Mound is the largest conical type burial mound in the United States. In 1838, much of the archaeological evidence in this mound was destroyed when several non-archaeologists tunneled into the mound. To gain entrance to the mound, two shafts, one vertical and one horizontal were created. This led to the most significant discovery of two burial vaults.
Grand Gulf Mound Claiborne County, Mississippi 50 to 150 CE Marksville culture An Early Marksville culture site located near Port Gibson in Claiborne County, Mississippi, on a bluff 1 mile (1.6 km) east of the Mississippi River, 2 miles (3.2 km) north of the mouth of the Big Black River.[6] The site has an extant burial mound, and may have possibly had two others in the past. The site is believed to have been occupied from 50 to 200 CE.
Indian Mounds Regional Park Saint Paul, Minnesota 1 to 500 CE Hopewell and Dakota cultures Originally up to 37 mounds constructed, 6 still in existence
Miamisburg Mound Miamisburg, Ohio 800 BCE to 100 CE Adena culture The largest conical mound in the state of Ohio, constructed by the Adena culture on a 100-foot-high bluff, the mound measures 877 feet (267 m) in circumference and its height is 65 feet (20 m).
Mound City Chillicothe, Ohio 200 BCE to 500 CE Ohio Hopewell culture Located on Ohio Highway 104 approximately four miles north of Chillicothe along the Scioto River, it is a group of 23 earthen mounds. Each mound within the Mound City Group covered the remains of a charnel house. After the Hopewell people cremated the dead, they burned the charnel house. They constructed a mound over the remains. They also placed artifacts, such as copper figures, mica, arrowheads, shells, and pipes in the mounds.
Pinson Mounds
Mounds 6, 12, and 31
Madison County, Tennessee 100 to 300 CE Miller culture A mound complex which includes mounds, a geometric enclosure, and numerous habitation areas, it is the largest group of Middle Woodland mounds in the United States. The complex covers approximately 400 acres (1.6 km2) and contains at least 30 mounds, 17 of which have been identified as being completely or partially constructed by prehistoric peoples. It includes at least 3 burial mounds, and a number of ceremonial platform mounds.

Mississippian culture burial mounds

Mound Location Date Culture Notes
Cahokia Mound 72 Mound 72, Cahokia
Collinsville, Illinois
650 to 1400 CE Middle Mississippian culture A ridge-top burial mound south of Monk's Mound, during excavations archaeologists found the remains of a man in his 40s who was probably an important Cahokian ruler. Archaeologists recovered more than 250 other skeletons from Mound 72. Scholars believe almost 62 percent of these were sacrificial victims, based on signs of ritual execution, method of burial, and other factors.[7]
Castalian Springs Mound 2 Castalian Springs Mound Site in Sumner County, Tennessee 1100 to 1450 CE Middle Mississippian culture Located on the eastern edge of a plaza, a 120 feet (37 m) in diameter 8 feet (2.4 m) tall mound which was found to contain over a hundred burials when excavated by William E. Myer in the early 1890s.[8]
Craig Mound Spiro Mounds, Le Flore County, Oklahoma 800-1200 CE Caddoan Mississippian culture Also called the "Great Mortuary", it is the second-largest mound on the site and the only burial mound. A hollow chamber that began as a burial structure for Spiro's rulers became a cavity within the mound, about 10 feet (3.0 m) high and 15 feet (4.6 m) wide, and allowed for almost perfect preservation of fragile artifacts made of wood, conch shell, and copper. The conditions in this hollow space were so favorable that objects made of perishable materials such as basketry, woven fabric, lace, fur, and feathers were preserved inside it. Craig Mound has been called "an American King Tut's Tomb."
George C. Davis Mound C Caddoan Mounds State Historic Site, Cherokee County, Texas 800-1200 CE Caddoan Mississippian culture Mound C, the northernmost mound of the three at the site, it was used as a ceremonial burial mound, not for elite residences or temples like the other two.[9] The site was the southwestern most ceremonial mound center of all the mound building cultures of North America.[9]
Etowah Mound C Etowah Indian Mounds, Cartersville, Georgia 1000-1550 CE South Appalachian Mississippian Cyrus Thomas and John P. Rogan tested the site for the Smithsonian Institution in 1883, where they discovered the "Rogan plates". But, the first well-documented archaeological inquiry at the site did not begin until the winter of 1925, conducted by Warren K. Moorehead. His excavations into Mound C at the site revealed a rich array of burial goods. These artifacts, along with the collections from Cahokia, Moundville, Lake Jackson, and Spiro Mounds, would comprise the majority of the materials which archeologists used to define the Southeastern Ceremonial Complex.
Fatherland Site Mound C Grand Village of the Natchez, Natchez, Mississippi 1400-1732 CE Plaquemine Mississippian culture Mound C was used as the Sun Temple and charnel house for the Natchez elite.
Gahagan Mound B Gahagan Mounds Site, Red River Parish, Louisiana 1100-1450 CE Caddoan Mississippian culture The burial mound at the site was excavated twice, in 1912 by Clarence Bloomfield Moore and then in 1939 by Clarence H. Webb. Between the 2 excavations, three burial shafts with a total of fourteen burials and more than five hundred grave goods were discovered. The first shaft, found by Moore, was 11 feet in depth and 13 by 8 feet in width and height. The other two, found in the 1939 excavations, were 19 feet (5.8 m) by 15 feet (4.6 m) and 12 feet (3.7 m) by 11 feet (3.4 m) feet in dimensions.[10] Grave goods found included flaked flint knives known as Gahagan blades, a matched pair of Long-nosed god maskette earrings of copper,[11] Missouri flint clay statues,[12] greenstone celts and spuds, and caches of beads and arrow heads. Many of the grave goods were exotic imports from such distant places from across the continent.[13]
Mangum Mound Mangum Mound Site, Claiborne County, Mississippi 1350 to 1500 CE Plaquemine Mississippian culture Located at milepost 45.7 on the Natchez Trace Parkway.[14] Various pottery fragments belonging to the Plaquemine culture, chunkey stones and several Mississippian copper plates, one with an avian design similar to other plates found Etowah in Georgia and Lake Jackson Mounds in Fllorida. These portray the Birdman motif important to the Southeastern Ceremonial Complex (S.E.C.C.).[15]
Nodena Site Mound C Nodena Site, Mississippi County, Arkansas 1400–1650 CE Middle Mississippian culture A circular mound, designated as "Mound C", was located at the other end of the chunkey field. It was roughly 93 feet (28 m) in diameter and 3 feet (0.91 m) high. A large number of male graves, 314 of 316, were found buried under it.
Pope County Mound 2 Kincaid Site, Pope County, Illinois 1050-1400 CE Middle Mississippian culture Adjacent to the Ohio River, the site straddles the modern-day counties of Massac County and Pope County in deep southern Illinois, an area colloquially known as Little Egypt. On the eastern edge of the site is a low circular mound which was used as a burial mound, as opposed to all other mounds at the site which were substructure platform mounds. The mound contained a number of stone box graves and log lined tombs similar to those frequently found to the south in the Middle Cumberland Valley of Tennessee.[16]
Shiloh Mound C Shiloh Indian Mounds, Hardin County, Tennessee 1000-1450 CE Middle Mississippian culture Adjacent to the Tennessee River, the site has 6 or 7 substructure platform mounds and one burial mound, Mound C. This mound was excavated in 1899 by Cornelius Cadle, chairman of the Shiloh Park Commission. Amongst the discoveries was a large stone effigy pipe in the shape of a kneeling man. It has since become the site’s most famous artifact and is on display in the Tennessee River Museum in Savannah. The pipe is from a distinctive red stone in the same style as several statuettes from the Cahokia site in Collinsville, Illinois.[17]

See also


  1. "Pharr Mounds-Ceramic analysis". National Park Service. Retrieved 2010-11-16.
  2. Peregrine, Peter Neal; Ember, Melvin, eds. (2003). "Middle Eastern Woodland". Encyclopedia of Prehistory. 6:North America (1 ed.). Springer Publishing. p. 331. ISBN 978-0-306-46264-1.
  3. 1 2 National Park Service (2009-03-13). "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service.
  4. Woodward, Susan L.; McDonald, Jerry N. (1986). Indian Mounds of the Middle Ohio Valley: A Guide to Mounds and Earthworks of the Adena, Hopewell, Cole, and Fort Ancient People. Blacksburg, Virginia: McDonald & Woodward Publishing. pp. 252–257. ISBN 978-0939923724.
  5. "Tejas-Caddo Ancestors-Woodland cultures". University of Texas at Austin. Retrieved 2010-10-17.
  6. Brookes, Samuel O. (1976). The Grand Gulf Mound: Salvage Excavation of an Early Marksville Burial Mound in Claiborne County, Mississippi. Mississippi Archaeological Survey Report. Jackson, Mississippi: Mississippi Department of Archives and History.
  7. Young & Fowler, p. 148.
  8. Kevin E. Smith; James V. Miller (2009). Speaking with the Ancestors-Mississippian Stone Statuary of the Tennessee-Cumberland region. University of Alabama Press. pp. 68–77. ISBN 978-0-8173-5465-7.
  9. 1 2 "Caddo Mounds-Sites-Texas Native Skies". Retrieved 2010-02-05.
  10. "The Caddo Indians of Louisiana". Retrieved 2010-02-24.
  11. "Tejas-Caddo Fundamentals-Mississippian World". Retrieved 2010-02-24.
  13. "The Caddo Indians of Louisiana". Archived from the original on December 10, 2009. Retrieved 2010-02-24.
  14. "Mangum Mound Natchez Trace". Retrieved 2012-04-27.
  15. "The Mangum Plate". American Antiquity. 18 (1): 65. July 1952. doi:10.2307/276247.
  16. Brennan, Tamira K. (October 2009). Domestic Diversity at Kincaid Mounds. Midwest Archaeological Conference. Iowa City, Iowa. p. 2. Retrieved 2011-02-19.
  17. "Shiloh Indian Mounds". Retrieved 2010-06-30.
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