American Indian Culture at Etowah

A Virtual Exploration of Mississippian Indian Life and Society in Georgia

By Georgia Public Broadcasting

Etowah National Historic Site Map (2016) by Georgia Public BroadcastingGeorgia Public Broadcasting

Etowah Indian Mounds Historic Site Map

Mississippian Dwelling (2016) by Georgia Public BroadcastingGeorgia Public Broadcasting

Plans for what archaeologists believe was a typical house were found near Mound B.

This reconstructed dwelling was built using the wattle and daub method, one of the oldest known ways to create a weatherproof structure.

Wattle and Daub Construction (2016) by Georgia Public BroadcastingGeorgia Public Broadcasting

Wattle and daub housing takes its name from the materials and methods used in construction. Here, the "wattle" is composed of cane that is woven among vertical posts. This semi-thatched structure is then "daubed" with a mixture of Georgia red clay, grass, and water that is allowed to harden and form walls.

Wattle and Daub Houses: How Native Americans Built Their Homes (2016) by Georgia Public BroadcastingGeorgia Public Broadcasting

Mortar and Pestle at Etowah (2016) by Georgia Public BroadcastingGeorgia Public Broadcasting

The Daily Grind

Fish, nuts, and corn were important staples of the Mississippian diet. To convert nuts and corn into a versatile form for cooking and eating, individuals would grind them into flour using a mortar and pestle -- tools still found in kitchens today.

Mississippian Arrowheads (2016) by Georgia Public BroadcastingGeorgia Public Broadcasting

Arrowheads found at the Etowah site are typically one to two inches long. They were often used in trade as well as in hunting when attached to a shaft and shot from a bow.

Etowah Atlatl (2015) by Georgia Public BroadcastingGeorgia Public Broadcasting

The atlatl [atl-atl] was a premodern weapon that acted as an extension of a hunter's throwing arm. Whatever projectile was placed in the hollowed-out holder could be thrown faster and farther due to the leverage created by the shaft. Atlatls greatly increased the ability of Mississippians to successfully hunt game.

Ancient Native American Technology Used For Hunting (2016) by Georgia Public BroadcastingGeorgia Public Broadcasting

Mississippian Canoe (2016) by Georgia Public BroadcastingGeorgia Public Broadcasting

Canoes were used as a swifter means of transportation along the nearby Etowah River. They were often made from tree trunks that were hollowed or "dug out." Poplar, pine, and cypress trees were most popular in this region for building canoes. A group of workers would typically take about two weeks to complete a vessel like this one.

Fish Trap Basket (2016) by Georgia Public BroadcastingGeorgia Public Broadcasting

Mississippian Indians at Etowah relied heavily on fish as a food source. Although they often used hooks to catch fish in the river, traps were usually more effective.

Fish traps like the one pictured were constructed as large woven baskets. The force of the current, combined with the conical shape of the basket, prevented fish from escaping the trap after entering it with the flow of the river.

Etowah River Fish Trap (2016) by Georgia Public BroadcastingGeorgia Public Broadcasting

Gone Fishing

Mississippian Indians constructed dams in the Etowah River by placing rocks in the shape of a V. Fish traps were placed at the point of the V to catch fish caught in the current.

How Native Americans Used Fish Traps To Hunt (2016) by Georgia Public BroadcastingGeorgia Public Broadcasting

Credits: Story

Etowah Indian Mounds Historic Site

Society for Georgia Archaeology

Credits: All media
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