Scenic USA - Georgia
|Photos by Ben Prepelka
Scenic USA Artist Website
Ocmulgee National Monument, located on the outskirts of Macon, features a 1000 year old Mississippian village and a collection of earthen mounds. Bounded on the edge of I-16, interstate travelers may easily see the Great Temple Mound from the highway, if they could only recognize what it truly is. In fact a large portion of the McDougal Mound was removed for fill dirt, and scars from dirt bikes marred the slopes of the Great Temple Mound.
This view from the Ocmulgee National Monument visitor center (styled in a 30s Art Moderne), centers on the ancient ceremonial earthlodge. A fire preserved much of the evidence in the lodge, giving archeologists many clues to aid in reconstruction. The original clay floor (inset) is estimated at 1000 years old. Seven other earth mounds on the site vary from an eight foot Cornfield Mound to the huge Great Temple Mound that rises 55 feet from a 300' by 275' foot base.
Apparently displacing the Woodland Indians, the Mississippians arrived about 900 CE. A compact town of thatched huts overlooked their bottomland fields of corn, beans, squash and tobacco. The village population peaked at about 1000 people, leaving behind simple pottery and effigies, and these mystical mounds. Mound building was central to the villagers way of life and included their final resting place. More than 100 burials have been found at the Funeral Mound, containing elaborate shell and copper ornaments. The park is open most everyday and is free to the public.
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