The Mounds Builders ( builders of tumulus ) indicate an Amerindian whole of people S missing before the arrival from Europeans, in all the Eastern half of the the current United States. This civilization précolombienne is characterized by its constructions from hillocks, Pyramide S and gigantic animal ground effigies. It opened out year 1000 before J. - C. at the 14th century of the Atlantique coast in the Mississippi. One estimates at several thousands the number of these buildings, for the majority destroyed by the erosion and agricultural mechanization: one identified 120 for the moment of them. These ground monticules were conical or pyramidal forms and varied sizes. The archeologists do not have a certainty on their function, for lack of written sources. The majority agree to say that they were tombs and sanctuaries. Other assumptions speak about observatory S astronomical. Some of these hillocks are grouped, surrounded by a ground lifting whereas others are isolated. At the 14th century, the Indians builders cease their activities. Mysteriously perhaps their culture disappears because of a climate change, epidemics or wars tribal.
First archaeological discoveriesIt is starting from 1784 that Thomas Jefferson decides systematically to excavate the hillocks of its property in Virginia. The American colonists had located these forms and had given them sometimes extravagant explanations: was this the remainders of the refugees of the Atlantis? monuments built using Mammoth S tamed? Jefferson, impassioned science, excavates initially a conical hillock of form, measuring 6 meters height. He exhumes great quantities of mixed human bones; to include/understand the site, it develops an archaeological method (the Stratigraphie) always used by the archeologists. The excavations reveal that the ground which recovered the bodies was brought basket by basket because the Indians had neither the wheel, nor of draft animals. With the wire of the generations, the monticules could thus reach 30 meters.
The Adena SOldest Mound Builders is the Adena S which lived in the current Ohio. The first peasants adenas arrived towards 1000 before J. - C.; they lived in villages and arranged immense hillocks like the hillock of the mammoth (25 meters in height). Starting from 1901, one finds 132 pipes in only one tumulus. This number shows that the habit to smoke was important. Others tumulus crowned of a platform were undoubtedly used to call upon the protective spirits (stag, wolf, bear). Steatite effigies of these animals were found. Ditches could protect the enclosure crowned from the bad spirits. Towards 300 before J. - C., Adenas mysteriously disappeared.
The Hopewell SThe Hopewells Indians replaced Adenas in this area. They built also conical hillocks and circular tumulus surrounded by a wall. Later, they arranged immense complexes of these buildings, which were dependant between them thanks to a network of walls. In several sites were put at the day of the Talisman S, of the shells and teeth of sharks which testify to a North-American network of exchanges almost 2000 years ago. One found knives in Obsidienne, a cutting stone of volcanic origin which came certainly from the area of the Yellowstone to several hundred kilometers. The voyages were done on light canoes which were going to seek in Canada of the Cuivre. The Indian craftsmen cold-stretched them to manufacture ceremonial objects.
Close to Newark, in Ohio, one located a monumental complex extending on 11 km ² and including/understanding a figure of bird 360 meters in diameter for the large hillock; the grounds used were various colors for their significance symbolic system. Perhaps technical chief of work of the Stone Age, a Octogone was used as observatory set up according to the rising of the moon. The Indians had perhaps included/understood the 18,6 years cycle of the night star. The other hyptothèse compares this octagone to a channel of celestial energy towards the place of worship. The Great Hopewell Road measured 100 km out of 60 m of broad, always rectilinear, and surrounded by two walls. This kind of sacred way led to a crowned enclosure, counterpart of that of Newark.
One period of sedentarisation with strengthened small villages of ramparts is followed from there. The hillocks take animal forms then. Close to the Great Hopewell Road , one found the giant effigy of a Alligator (or panther of water), symbol of a spirit of the lower world. Another hillock, called hillock of the snake , measurement 380 meters. The snake was a divinity who symbolized the rebirth (by the moult). At the end of the tail of the snake the entry of the kingdom of deaths was. The hillock of the snake was perhaps a solar calendar. With the summer solstice was organized a procession to the eyes of the snake, place hypnotic or of contact with the supernatural powers. Resulting from erudite astronomical calculations, the sun lies down on the head of the snake.
A pyramidal hillock with steps was, called there hillock of the monks . Its base measured 250 out of 300 meters; it was thus broader than that of Khéops in Egypt. The archeologists found a shelf in sandstone with a engraved man carrying a mask in the shape of nozzle. In the back a squaring perhaps representing appears the skin of a snake, creature of the lower world. At the 13th century, foreign powers seem to have threatened the town of Cahokia. A wall out of 3 km length wooden surrounds the sanctuary then. It was restored four times in a siècle.
Always on the same site, one found fall it from a chief, lengthened on a funerary cover in shells. He was buried with sacrificed bodies (4 men with the hands and cut heads). One had also placed 400 arrowheads worked especially manufactured for the chief, a sceptre out of copper and several kilos of Micaschiste, sign of his high ranking. Several collective tombs with women of the same age are in the vicinity, perhaps victims of a sacrifice in the honor of the chief.
Louisiana; they set up a city towards 1750 before J. - C. with Poverty Point with one of the largest tumulus known; one found 6 ground enclosing walls measuring up to 2 meters in height, of the huts, a place, the whole dominated by a hillock in the shape of eagle. On another bank, the hillock emerald , geometrical, exposes two temples face to face on the higher platform.
In the east of Wisconsin, the park of a private clinic shelters tumulus: one found the remainders of a family buried around a stone assembly with egg inside. The building was connected to three hillocks in the shape of eagles, perhaps appearing the buried family.
Principal sites in the USA
- Monk' S Mound (Collinsville, Illinois)
- Snake Mound (Peebles, Ohio)
- Etowah Indian Mounds (Georgia).
- Effigy Mounds National Monument (Iowa)
Civilization mississippienne (generic article)
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