The Mounds at Ocmulgee

A Virtual Exploration of Mississippian Indian Culture in Georgia

By Georgia Public Broadcasting

Ocmulgee National Monument Map (2016) by Georgia Public BroadcastingGeorgia Public Broadcasting

Ocmulgee Mounds National Historic Park Map

Ocmulgee Earth Lodge (2016) by Georgia Public BroadcastingGeorgia Public Broadcasting

The earth lodge at Ocmulgee was used as a council house for meetings. It was built of logs, river cane, and clay and was not originally covered with grass.

Earth Lodge Thatched Hallway (2016) by Georgia Public BroadcastingGeorgia Public Broadcasting

After passing through the log doorway of the council house, a hallway of thatched walls leads to a council chamber inside the reconstructed earth lodge.

Ocmulgee Council Chamber (2016) by Georgia Public BroadcastingGeorgia Public Broadcasting

Hierarchical meetings took place inside the earthen lodge, where 50 members sat to govern Ocmulgee society. Council seats became higher and wider as they approached closer proximity to the effigy of a bird.

Mississippian Indian Earth Lodge at Ocmulgee (2016) by Georgia Public BroadcastingGeorgia Public Broadcasting

Unearthing the Past | Georgia Outdoors (2018) by Georgia Public BroadcastingGeorgia Public Broadcasting

Ocmulgee Layered Funeral Mound by Ocmulgee National MonumentGeorgia Public Broadcasting

This historic photo shows the different layers of earth within the Funeral Mound.

Ocmulgee Indian Funeral Mound (2016) by Georgia Public BroadcastingGeorgia Public Broadcasting

Ocmulgee Trading Shells (2016) by Georgia Public BrodcastingGeorgia Public Broadcasting

Mississippian Indians traded items like hooks, shells, and pottery with other groups along extensive trade routes.

Ocmulgee Chunkey Discs (2016) by Georgia Public BroadcastingGeorgia Public Broadcasting

Chunkey was a popular game played by Mississippian Indians. A large disc was rolled and players threw a spear to the location where they thought the disc would stop.

Points were awarded for landing a spear closest to the disc's actual resting place.

Ocmulgee Shell and Pot (2016) by Ocmulgee National MonumentGeorgia Public Broadcasting

During the New Deal archaeology projects of the 1930s, pottery was excavated at Ocmulgee. It is unlike any other style found in Georgia.

This suggests to archaeologists that the Mississippian Indians who settled here were immigrants, likely from areas northwest of Georgia.

What an Ocmulgee Indian Village Site Reveals About Early Native American Life (2016) by Georgia Public BroadcastingGeorgia Public Broadcasting

Ocmulgee Trenches (2016) by Georgia Public BroadcastingGeorgia Public Broadcasting

Mississippian Indians had various ways of defending themselves against outside invaders. A natural barrier, like the one pictured here, was often used as a moat or a trench.

Corn Field Mound at Ocmulgee (2016) by Georgia Public BroadcastingGeorgia Public Broadcasting

One modern development highlighted at Ocmulgee is the Mississippian Indian reliance on agriculture rather than just hunting and gathering.

Near the Corn Field Mound, common crops like squash, corn, sunflowers, beans, and tobacco were grown.

Credits: Story

New Georgia Encyclopedia

Ocmulgee National Monument

Credits: All media
The story featured may in some cases have been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.
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