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Take your game farther by learning about the times and places presented in the game. Explore this section, where you can read articles, see pictures, and follow links—don't worry, all this hard work will help you score higher when you play the game!

Photo taken by Katina Lear

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The first mounds built in Georgia were built by the prehistoric Woodland people sometime around 300 B.C.-A.D. 600 and continued through the Mississippian period from A.D. 900-1600. The mounds signified an importance in ceremonial and spiritual practices by the Woodland and Mississippian people. Mounds were constructed of dirt and rock that was locally available. The first mounds were small, domed-shaped structures that served as burial mounds. In addition to burial mounds, larger platform mounds were constructed both in the Woodland and Mississippian periods. These larger platform mounds could reach 100 feet in height and could take up to 100 years to complete. Platform mounds were used as stages for religious ceremonies, as foundations for houses of elite tribal members, or as foundations for important religious and political buildings. Towns that contained multiple mounds signified capital centers, such as Etowah, in the Mississippian period.

Mississippian Culture

Before contact with European explorers, Native American tribes are defined by archaeologists in terms of technological, economic, and social advances. These prehistoric people are divided into four broad groups: the Paleoindians (11,000-8,000 B.C.), Archaic (8,000-1,000 B.C.), Woodland (1,000 B.C.-A.D. 900), and Mississippian (A.D. 900-1600). The Mississippian Culture represents the most complex society of all their predecessors. The Mississippian people developed chiefdoms that were based on social, political, and class systems defined by elites and commoners. Chiefdoms were comprised of capital towns, such as Etowah near Cartersville, Georgia, and small farming villages and towns outside of, but associated with, the larger mound centers. Members of the elite society were thought to possess supernatural powers that gave them special positions within the community. Elite members of Mississippian chiefdoms had larger houses, ate better choices of food, wore special clothing, and they were not required to participate in the labors of the common people. Commoners, who made up a majority of Mississippian societies, served as warriors, craftsmen, farmers, and public works laborers.

The Mississippian people were predominately farmers. Their villages were often located close to rivers where periodic flooding supplied their small gardens of corn, beans, squash, and sunflowers with ample water and nutrients for growth. These villages were small with a central plaza surrounded by houses and, on occasion, defensive structures like palisade walls. For capital cities and towns architecture included mounds. Mounds were used by tribal chiefs for placement of their houses, ceremonial buildings, and burials of their ancestors.

The Mississippian people were the tribes that met the early European explorers. It is through the chronicles written by these explorers, such as Spanish explorer Hernando de Soto who described his encounters with the Mississippian people, that we understand the life ways of these early people. The contact between Europeans and Native Americans would bring about the historic period (A.D. 1600-1850) for tribes and redefine their cultures and societies forever.

Wattle and Daub

One of the earliest construction techniques in the world, used as early as 10,000 B.C. according to archaeological evidence and by Native Americans as early as 300 B.C., wattle and daub is an easy and inexpensive method of construction and survives today as a popular technique employed in making energy efficient homes.

Wattle and daub is a method of building construction consisting of two parts: 1) wattle—a basket weave of interwoven pieces of wood, such as tree branches or river reed and 2) daub, the plaster-like substance applied to the wattle which provides insulation and protection from the weather. Daub was made from whatever material was at hand, such as a mixture of mud, animal dung, plant material, and clay. The wattle was woven around a series of vertical framing posts, and the tension created by the tight weave supported the building. The interior of the building would contain larger vertical support posts spaced proportionately.

Additional Reading

Mississippian Period (New Georgia Encyclopedia)
Etowah Mounds

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