Monday, March 31, 2008

Sunday Trip to Moundville Archaeological Park

Moundville is a 340-acre park south of Tuscaloosa, Alabama. It is one of the largest intact Mississippean sites in the United States. The Moundville site was occupied from around A.D. 1000 until A.D. 1450. At Moundville's peak, there were 1,000 inhabitants within the fortification and another 9,000 in the rest of the valley.

There are several ponds on the grounds that were formed when dirt was borrowed to build the mounds. The water level was still low due to the drought, so walked a short while along the dry banks. We wouldn't have picked up any flakes and chips, but we did look for them, mainly out of habit, I guess.

The Park sits on a bluff overlooking the Black Warrior River. During its occupation, there was a wooden palisade on the three remaining sides. Within the enclosure, were twenty-six earthen mounds. The largest pyramid is 58 feet above the surrounding grounds. There was a strict social order and the largest mounds were occupied by the highest ranking officials.

By 1450, Moundville only a handful of residents remained on the site. Nobody really knows why people left.

The creeks where we hunt artifacts eventually flow into the Black Warrior River.

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