Theory of Reasons for Building the Mounds. The mounds which represent rising from the earth semi-rounded structures served different purposes such as the place for conducting religious ceremonies, the place for worship and for burials.
The Description of Mima Mounds’ Excavation. Mima Mounds. Mima Mounds can be found in the western part of the country. These
mounds are different. Some of them are small, others are rather large. They resemble the hills but they are the mounds. During the excavations it was found that the mounds were built to cover other buildings. For example, some mound covered an ancient workshop. (Pauketat 21)
According to some historical data, some of these mounds were built by the Hopewell Indians. The main reason for building the mounds in this area was to bury the famous people in the mounds. The other theory concerning the building of the mounds is connected with the gophers who constructed some small mounds which were only some feet high and eight feet across. They resembled small hills. The first excavations of Mima Mounds which are located in the south of Seattle, Washington were carried out by Captain Charles Wilkes about 170 years ago. (Pauketat 18)
These mounds are considered to be the most mysterious mounds of all. The biggest mound is about six-seven feet high and about 25 feet in diameter. Although some scientists connect the building of Mima Mounds with the gophers, there were no any remains of gophers or their bones found during the excavations. There were a lot of tunnels found during the excavations of these mounds. Some scientists consider that these small tunnels were created by the gophers but other scientists are sure that the gophers lived under the mounds and did not constructed them. (Silverberg 41)
Another theory which was given by the scientists concerning the building of the mounds is connected with the seismic activity. This group of scientists who have explored the Mima Mounds considers that the ground was shaken and on the place of the movements the mounds were created. However, this theory was not supported. (Silverberg 43)
One more theory is connected with the running water which could create the mounds. This theory was supported by a number of scientists who considered that the water could move dirt around and create a mound which later would be covered with soil. Then there was a theory that different typed of soil made it possible that the dirt shifted and created the mounds. During the excavation of Mima Mounds there was nothing found inside the mounds. The experts in the field of archeology consider that these mounds were the burial mounds but the bones were dissolved many years ago. (Pauketat 25)
There were no any artifacts found too. This fact means that the mounds were not created by the people. Although one of the mounds is considered to be a religious mound but it had nothing inside of it. Another explanation given by the scientists after the excavations is that after the mounds had been constructed, there was a bog settled on top of them and could preserve them. (Pauketat 27)
One of the last geological theories concerning the building of the Mima Mounds was discussed by Jim Brandon. He states that there were the rocks found inside the mounds. The rocks were about two and twenty inches thick. They were above the level of the ground. Jim Brighton is sure that the Mima Mounds are growing taller. The local people have been interviewed and they confirm that the mounds are growing. (Silverberg 34)
Brief Description of Excavations on Monks Mound. It is known that Monks Mound is situated on the banks of Cahokia Creek, Illinois. This mound is considered to be a man-made mound. The latest investigations proved the fact that the mound was built between A.D.900 and 1150. Those scientists who proposed that Monks Mound was not built by a man did not want to connect the building of the mound with the Indians. A great deal of archeological excavations were carried out in the past. (History of Excavations of Monks Mounds)
Monks Mound represents a flat topped mound which was constructed on the platform. During the excavations it was found that there was a building located on the summit of the mound. The dimensions of the building were 104 feet by 48 feet. It was discovers that the building was rebuilt several times. According to the theories of scientists concerning the use of that building, it is known that the building was used for different ceremonial purposes. This building could also serve a dwelling for the leaders of the tribe. Monks Mound occupies the territory of 14 acres. It is the largest mound in the USA. The height of this mound is about 100 feet. It was discovered that this mound contains more that 22 million cubic feet of earth in it. There have been fourteen separate constructions over the period of 300 years. During the excavations there were found 4 terraces. The first one was represented by a small mound on the southwest corner. It also had a building. The second terrace was on the west. It was a higher one. The third and the forth terraces were used to create a mound summit. It is known that Monks Mound has not been excavated in full. (Silverberg 35)
The experts in the field of archeology consider that the builders of this mound used different soils for the mound in order to provide drainage and its stability. During the numerous excavations there were found few artifacts inside the mound. The archeologists found some small pottery shards, chert flakes, charcoal, and some other debris. During the excavations which were carried out in 1971, the Birdman Tablet was found on the eastern slope of the mound. Since then it has become the symbol of Monks Mound. The mound was name Monks Mound according to the historical documents which prove the fact that the French Priests built a chapel on the west corner of the Monks Mound. This evidence is referred to 1700. Excavations found a great deal of artifacts which can be referred to this time. It is known that they lived on the Mound but did not build a monastery there. (History of Excavations of Monk Mounds)
Although much information has been learned during the numerous excavations of the mounds, a lot of questions remain. It is the main task of the present day archeologists to learn more about the mound builders and their culture.
Garlinghouse, Thomas. Revisiting the Mound Builder Controversy. History Today. September, 2001.
History of Excavations of Monk Mounds. Canokia Mounds. State Historic Site.
Pauketat, T., Bernard N. Cahokia Mounds. Oxford University Press. 2004. Print.
Silverberg, Robert. Mound Builders of Ancient America. New York: Greenwitch. 1968. Print.
Washburn, A. Mima Mounds: An Evaluation of Proposed Origins. Washington. Division of Geology and Earth Resources. 1988. Print.