Etowah Mounds State Historic Site contains one of the largest Indian mounds in North America.

A number of rare artifacts were found at Etowah Mounds. 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, rises to a height of slightly more than 60 feet.

Etowah Indian Mounds
Etowah Indian Mounds
Courtesy of Georgia Department of Natural Resources.

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 are open to visitors.

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Etowah Indian Mounds

Etowah Indian Mounds

A path leading to two of the mounds at the Etowah Indian Mounds Historic Site. Located in Bartow County, the site is home to the second-largest Indian mound in North America, rises to a height of slightly more than 60 feet.

Photograph from Sharon Meier

Etowah Indian Figures

Etowah Indian Figures

Archaeological excavation, carried out intermittently at the site for more than a hundred years, has unearthed artifacts such as these stone figures, which have provided much information life in the Mississippian Period.

Etowah River

Etowah River

The Etowah River, with headwaters near Dahlonega, flows west-southwest for 140 miles to Rome, where it forms the Coosa River when it joins the Oostanaula River.

Image from Kevin Trotman

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Etowah Indian Mounds

Etowah Indian Mounds

Modern-day steps lead to the summit of one of the Indian mounds at the Etowah site.

Courtesy of Georgia Department of Natural Resources, Georgia State Parks.