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What did the Mound Builders do for a living? Mound Builders were prehistoric American Indians, named for their practice of burying their dead in large mounds. Beginning about three thousand years ago, they built extensive earthworks from the Great Lakes down through the Mississippi River Valley and into the Gulf of Mexico region.
What was the economy of the Mound Builders? This population growth was sustained by agriculture (corn, beans, and squash)–a revolutionary new means of subsistence that became an economic mainstay during the Mississippian period. Mound construction was once again in decline by the time the first Europeans came to this region in the 1500s.
When did the Mound Builders live? From c. 500 B.C. to c. 1650 A.D., the Adena, Hopewell, and Fort Ancient Native American cultures built mounds and enclosures in the Ohio River Valley for burial, religious, and, occasionally, defensive purposes.
What did the Mound Builders grow? We know that they were a peaceful, agricultural people who grew corn and settled in permanent villages because they did not have to depend on hunting for most of their food. And we know that the corn they grew, the mounds they built and their customs came from the great Mayan civilization in Central and South America.
Three important groups of mound builders were the people of the Adena, Hopewell, and Mississippian cultures. They built many different types of mounds. Burial mounds were used as graves. They made these mounds by placing a body on the ground and building a hill of dirt and stones around it.
The Mound Builders worshipped the sun and their religion centered around a temple served by shaven head priests, a shaman and the village chiefs. The Mound Builders had four different social classes called the Suns, the Nobles, the Honored Men and Honored Women and the lower class. The chiefs were called the ‘Suns’.
Corn (maize) was brought into the area from Mexico and was widely grown together with other vegetables like beans and squash. They also hunted both small animals like rabbits and squirrels and larger game animals like bison and various types of deer.
Definition of Mound Builder
: a member of a prehistoric American Indian people whose extensive earthworks are found from the Great Lakes down the Mississippi River valley to the Gulf of Mexico.
Soil, clay, or stones were carried in baskets on the backs of laborers to the top or flanks of the mound and then dumped. Hundreds of thousands of man-hours of work were required to build each of the larger mounds. It is likely that the shells in shell mounds were thrown there after large community feasts.
Mounds were typically flat-topped earthen pyramids used as platforms for religious buildings, residences of leaders and priests, and locations for public rituals. In some societies, honored individuals were also buried in mounds.
What did the Mound Builders wear: There is evidence that the Mound Builders wove cloth from plant fibers: reeds, grasses, etc. They also used animal hides to make clothing. Bone needles and sinew have been found in caves.
For those interested in Native American history, I recommend starting with Mound Builders, then playing Comancheria and then finally advancing to Navajo Wars. These three games give a wonderful overview of the original people of this continent.
Some mounds were built along the ridge line of hilltops; others were shaped into platform pyramids, perfect cones or avenues of straight lines. So far as anyone knows, the Mound Builders had no written language; they speak now only through what may be studied from the artifacts they left behind.
Serpent Mound is an internationally known National Historic Landmark built by the ancient American Indian cultures of Ohio. It is an effigy mound (a mound in the shape of an animal) representing a snake with a curled tail. Nearby are three burial mounds—two created by the Adena culture (800 B.C.–A.D.
The Moundbuilder Myth was created in the mid-19th century to explain a disconnect within the thought processes of Euroamerican settlers. The settlers appreciated the thousands of mounds on their new properties, but could not bear to credit mound construction to the Native American people they were displacing.
The effigy mound is both a burial and a ceremonial mound; however, its main use appears to be ceremonial. Only about 20 to 25 percent of them contain any burial material. One of the largest effigies visitors can see is the Great Bear Mound, which is 137 feet long and 70 feet wide.
Mound Builders, in North American archaeology, name given to those people who built mounds in a large area from the Great Lakes to the Gulf of Mexico and from the Mississippi River to the Appalachian Mts. The greatest concentrations of mounds are found in the Mississippi and Ohio valleys.
Lasting traces of Adena culture are still seen in the remains of their substantial earthworks. At one point, larger Adena mounds numbered in the hundreds, but only a small number of the remains of the larger Adena earthen monuments still survive today.
The “Mound Builder” cultures span the period of roughly 3500 BCE (the construction of Watson Brake) to the 16th century CE, including the Archaic period, Woodland period (Calusa culture, Adena and Hopewell cultures), and Mississippian period.
Moundbuilders lived in dome shaped homes made with pole walls and thatched roofs. Important buildings were covered with a stucco made from clay and grass. These people grew native plants like corn, pumpkins, and sunflowers.
A mound is a heaped pile of earth, gravel, sand, rocks, or debris. Most commonly, mounds are earthen formations such as hills and mountains, particularly if they appear artificial. A mound may be any rounded area of topographically higher elevation on any surface.
From about 100 B.C., a new mound-building culture flourished in the Midwest, known as the Hopewell. These people developed thousands of villages extending across what is now Ohio, Indiana, Michigan, Illinois, Wisconsin, Iowa, and Missouri.
Mississippians depended on corn for food, and they cleared and planted fields near their towns and villages. The amount of cultivated plant food in the Mississippian diet distinguishes it from the typical Woodland period diet.
As archaeological studies here continue, Monk’s Mound is now the centrepiece of the 3.5 square-mile Cahokia Mounds State Historic Site (a Unesco World Heritage Site since 1982), which includes 2,200 acres of land, 72 surviving mounds, and a museum.
The Fort Ancient Culture was primarily located in southern Ohio. The first of these structures was identified as Fort Ancient. Since then a number of these irregular structures have been discovered. This was the last of the Mound Building Cultures.