Monday, June 15, 2015

Great Mound of Mound Bottom State Park

Mound Bottom from May's Mace Bluff
photo by Scantonio via Wikipedia

Name: Mound Bottom Archaeological Site, Harpeth River State Park
Tribe: Mississippian culture
Location: Highway 70, Kingston Springs, TN 37887
Type: Historic, Archaeological Site, State Park
Visiting Info: Harpeth River State Park is open year-round from 7am until 4:30pm in winter and 7pm in summer, guided hikes to Mound Bottom occur Sundays at 1pm, Oct-Dec, by reservation only.
Contact: Website, telephone 615-952-2099

The complex of 14 mounds, tombs, a plaza, earthwork fortifications, and houses that make up the Mound Bottom Archaeological Site were probably built between 950 and 1300 AD. The settlement was constructed in a bend of the Harpeth River in what is now central-western Tennessee by the Mississippian culture that proceeded the Muscogee Creek confederacy. The primary Great Mound is 25 feet tall with a ramp that once went from a central plaza up to its flat top. A community of hundreds of homes enclosed by an earthen wall topped by a wooden palisade surrounded the Great Mound. The settlement was a ceremonial gathering place and trade center for the Mississippian people.

Today the Mound Bottoms State Park and the nearby Mississippian petroglyph of a ceremonial mace at May's Mace Bluff are part of the Harpeth River State Park. The park is open daily year-round, but the Mound Bottom site and the petroglyph are only accessible through a guided tour. The guided hikes are provided by the Tennessee State Parks Department and are offered on Sunday afternoons in the fall by appointment only. Mound Bottom artifacts from a 1970's archaeological dig can be viewed at the Park Office at Montgomery Bell State Park.

Mound Bottom on Wikipedia
Indian Country Today article, "Celebrate the Great Mound of Mound Bottom in Tennessee."
Harpeth River State Park and Mound Bottom on Tennessee History for Kids
Historic Mound Bottom on the Harpeth River Watershed Association website
Mound Bottom on the Native History Association website

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