Etowah Mounds

This nationally famous, prehistoric archaeological site contains one of the largest Indian mounds in North America. A number of rare artifacts were found here. The site of the ancient fifty-four-acre Indian town is located on the Etowah River, some three miles south of Cartersville in Bartow County. Its most prominent features are three large earthen mounds, though there are at least six mounds altogether. The largest, a temple mound, is more than 300 square feet at the base and rises to a height of slightly more than 60 feet.
The mounds are situated along the sides of two rectangular plazas, the larger of which stretches approximately 300 feet. Constructed in the form of four-sided, flat-topped pyramids, the mounds served originally as platforms. Public buildings, long since vanished, were constructed on their elevated surfaces. A ramp with log steps led from the plaza up one side of the mound to the building erected on the mound summit. Surrounding the mound and plaza complex in the center of the town were residential houses. A large encircling ditch protected the town. Immediately inside it was a post palisade employing rectangular bastions, or towers, placed at regular intervals along its length.
The town was settled by the twelfth century; many archaeologists date the settlement at least two centuries earlier. Its occupation continued, with brief periods of abandonment, into the seventeenth century. Archaeological excavation, carried out intermittently at the site for more than a hundred years, has provided much information about the prehistoric life of the town. Now owned by the state of Georgia, the site and an interpretive museum is open to visitors.


Further Reading
Adam King, Etowah: The Political History of a Chiefdom Capital (Tuscaloosa: University of Alabama, 2003).

Warren King Moorehead, ed., Exploration of the Etowah Site in Georgia: The Etowah Papers, (Gainesville: University Press of Florida, 2000).
Cite This Article
Larson, Lewis. "Etowah Mounds." New Georgia Encyclopedia. 13 February 2013. Web. 10 October 2015.
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