The Mississippians are a vanished culture.
Once, they lived along the banks of the Mississippi River. They built
huge ceremonial sites and trading centers that serviced the tens of
thousands of people - hunters, farmers, merchants - the native people
who lived in the outlaying villages.
They were great traders. They traded with people
from the Gulf of Mexico to Great Lakes region. They traded a stone
that was native to their area. Natives in other parts of the country
used this this stone to make weapons. In exchange they received a
variety of goods including copper, food, clothing, pipes, headdresses,
They also grew food. They raised corn, beans, and
The leaders of these people lived in luxury, with
many servants. Scholars have also found pictographs of winged
warriors, feathered snakes, and spiders. It has never been proven, but
some scholars believe these ancient people visited the
Aztecs in olden times.
The Mississippians are often referred to as the
mound builders. They spent hundreds of years building huge, steep
platforms made of hard packed dirt - mounds. Many of the mounds were
built in geometric patterns. Some were very long and wide - 1,000 feet
long and over 700 feet wide. If you think of it as a football field -
these huge mounds would cover over 3 football fields long and over 2
football fields wide! We're talking huge!
Most of the mounds were not very tall, perhaps
only 3 feet or so. But some were over 70 feet tall! Scholars estimate
it took over 200 years to build one of the super huge mounds. What
does it take to get people working on one project for 200 years? For
one thing, it takes strong rulers.
Why all the mounds? Scholars believe that mounds
were used as a burial grounds. As archaeologists explore the mounds,
they have found the ancient remains of toys and clothes and bones. But
some mounds have nothing hidden in the dirt. No one knows what they
were built to accomplish. It is a history mystery.
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