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Summer Reading Assignment

August 5, 2010


Etowah Indian Mounds

The Etowah Indian Mounds are located in Cartersville, Georgia on the north shore of the Etowah
River and were home to several thousand Native Americans for more than 500 years between 1000 A.D
and 1500 A.D. The Etowah Indian Mounds were first thought to be inhabited by the Cherokee Native
Americans but through further research they did not arrive until the early 1700’s. The mounds are the
most unaltered site representing the Mississippian culture in the southeastern United States. It contains six
Mounds, a plaza, village area, borrow pits, and a defensive ditch. There is no clear expiation to why the
mounds were built, but three theories exist. One reason is because of their agricultural based culture, they
lived so close to rivers. When the rivers flooded it would return nutrients to the crops and the mounds
kept the communities things dry. A second explanation establishes a type of caste system which the
higher the mound, the more important the mound and its inhabitant were within the community. Finally,
the mounds represented their religious beliefs involving the earth. The artifacts found in the Etowah
Indian Mounds give clues to how these Native Americans lived and worked. Although only nine percent
of the Etowah Indian Mounds have been excavated, what has been found has told much to researchers.
The artifacts show how these people decorated themselves with shell beads, tattoos, paint, complicated
hairdos, feathers and copper ear ornaments. Much of their life has been well preserved. The life of the
Native Americans was very spiritual and ritualistic. The highest knoll that looks over the site was most
likely some sort of home for the highest priest. In another mound, nobility was buried with their
belongings and very flamboyant clothing to take to their afterlife. There are a total of six Etowah Indian

The website shows many things. One thing that is clearly visible is a map and the location of the
Etowah Native American Mounds. It also has some information about the history of the Etowah Indian
Mounds and what the park has to offer. The website also mentions visiting their museum. Visitors can
visit the museum and take a walk through the life of a Native American. They can see what the people
wore and did through their life. This is also were the artifacts recovered are on display for people to look
at. This is the only information the website has to offer. I traveled to the other links to find out what the
Etowah Indian Mounds were used for. They were the levels of superiority of the people. The highest
mound housed the high priest-chief and the two smaller Etowah Indian Mounds housed the lower priests.
The other people in the community lived on the ground.

Before researching the Etowah Indian Mounds I only knew that they were Etowah Indian
Mounds made by Native Americans. But now I have learned that the Native Americans that built them
were very advanced for their time period. It is amazing to me that they created a self sustaining
community before modern technology had become available. The website to me could have been more
informative and had more information on the Native Americans. The information was limited on the main
page but the links offered more in depth coverage. The website was a little confusing at first but after I
took a deeper look it made sense. Some questions I still have about the Etowah Indian Mounds is what
were the people like and how did they survive? Also I would want to know how they left the Etowah
Indian Mounds. Altogether I would defiantly want to take a visit to the Etowah Indian Mounds. It seems
like a place that would be fun to visit. I would suggest looking at the website for a base knowledge and
for directions but not for in depth knowledge. .