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Behind Episode 101: Tribal Mounds of the US

One of the major areas of study for me in this journey I have been on for many years started with my desire to know more about the Native American cultures that still survive today.  Regardless of what we, the white man, refer to these tribes is merely cultural indifferences.  

I will be traveling to many tribal areas and sharing with you my findings and sharing what these tribes wish us to know so our two cultures can blend on this land together.

When our people left Europe and the eastern world we took over a land that was already inhabited by tribes, unlike the ones our people were used to.  This takeover led to the forcing of reservations across our nation so the tribes could continue living in their ways and not required to follow US Government laws.

I am excited to share with you the things I have learned around the country from each of these tribes.  But first let me give you my findings from the Indian Temple Mound Museum at Fort Walton Beach, Florida in July 2021.  I have been to Fort Walton Beach many times before and never knew this museum was right in the center of downtown square.  This community which doesn’t even have a beach, per say, has a lot for the wonderer.  From quaint local owned shops to international cuisine and even a bakery for dogs.


According to Wikipedia:

The Fort Walton Mound was probably built around 800 CE, although Charles H. Fairbanks who excavated the mound in 1960 believed it was built between 1500 and 1650 based on pottery sherds he uncovered and analyzed.[4] The mound served as the ceremonial and political center of their chiefdom and probably the residence of the chief. It was also the burial ground of the elites in the society. Archaeological evidence suggests that several buildings once stood on top of the mound, perhaps at different times throughout its use. These buildings were probably done in the typical wattle and daub construction common among Southeastern Native American groups. By sometime in the late 1600s the mound was abandoned by its original builders and lay dormant in use until the area was reinhabited by white settlers in the mid 19th century.

The Confederate soldiers established “Camp Walton” at the base of Fort Walton Mound in 1861 during the Civil War to guard Santa Rosa Sound and Choctawhatchee Bay. As with many of Florida’s mound structures, the Fort Walton Mound was first excavated by antiquarians and amateur archaeologists. The Walton Guard soldiers are the first recorded group to have excavated the mound. John Love McKinnon, an officer with the Walton Guards at the time, wrote a description of their excavation in his book “History of Walton County.”[5] McKinnon noted that several human remains the soldiers unearthed were from large individuals and probably belonged to warriors as indicated by damage they observed on the skulls, thighs and arms bones consistent with hacking and blunt force trauma. He speculated that the area they dug into was once a charnel house.[5] A couple decades after the Civil War, in 1883 S.T. Walker wrote a report about excavating the mound for the Smithsonian Institution.[6]: 854 Walker surveyed several mounds in the Florida Panhandle and noted that many curiosity seekers had dug into the mound over the years. Walker noted that Dr. S.S. Forbes from Milton, Florida, had excavated the mound previously and discovered bones and several clay effigies which he later donated to the Smithsonian.[6]: 862

Clarence Bloomfield Moore also excavated the mound in 1901 and brought many before unseen ceramic vessels and burial items to light.[7] In 1940 the highly respected archaeologist Gordon Willey and Richard Woodbury reexamined the Fort Walton Mound and other sites Moore had visited.[8] Their work here was mentioned in Willey’s highly acclaimed work “Archaeology of the Florida Gulf Coast,” which he completed when he worked for the Bureau of American Ethnology Smithsonian Institution.[9] By 1960 Dr. Charles Fairbanks, an archaeologist and professor at Florida State University, was contacted by the city and he excavated the mound to determine the original size, shape, and construction method of the mound.[10] Throughout the 1960s and 1970s the Fort Walton Mound was excavated by members of the museum staff under the guidance of William and Yulee Lazarus.[11] In 1971-1973 with the help of Depauw University’s Robert J. Fornaro the mound was excavated to locate post holes and recover ceramic material that might fit vessels found earlier.[12] The last excavation of the Fort Walton Mound occurred in 1976 by then FSU graduate student Nina Thanz (Borremans). Thanz was tasked with making sure the reconstruction of a temple building being planned for the top of the mound would not disturb any human remains or artifacts during construction. She found several post holes from different structures built on top of the mound and evidence for a charnel house. Her findings of post holes became one source of the dimensions to the building structure that stands on the mound today. According to the first curator of the Indian Temple Mound Museum Yulee Lazarus the reconstruction of the temple building that currently stands on top of the mound was never intended on being a “replica,” but rather to “bolster the imagination and interpretation of the Indians’ use of the temple mound.”[13]

Circle of Qi Podcast airs Friday Nights at 7pm on TRIM Radio Network, a digital radio broadcast.  After which, you can find each episode on your favorite podcast channels, Amazon Music, Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, Patreon, Stitcher, YouTube (coming soon)

Mounds around the US

Adams Site (Kentucky)
Adamson Mounds Site (South Carolina)
Angel Mounds (Indiana)
Annis Mound and Village Site (Kentucky)
Ashworth Archaeological Site (Indiana)
Avery Site (Georgia)
Aztalan State Park (Wisconsin)
Battle Mound Site (Arkansas)
Beasley Mounds Site (Tennessee)
Beaverdam Creek Archaeological Site (Georgia)
Belcher Mound Site (Louisiana)
Bell Field Mound Site (Georgia)
Bottle Creek Indian Mounds (Alabama)
Boyd Mounds Site (Mississippi)
Brentwood Library Site (Jarman Farm Site) (Tennessee)

Brick Church Mound and Village Site (Tennessee) (Few remaining mounds are left)
Bussell Island (Tennessee)
Caddoan Mounds State Historic Site (Texas)
Cahokia (Illinois)
Campbell Archeological Site (Missouri)
Castalian Springs Mound Site (Tennessee) (Not open to the public)
Chauga Mound (South Carolina)
Chucalissa Indian Village (Tennessee)
Citico (Tennessee) (Now destroyed)
Cloverdale archaeological site (Missouri)
Crystal River Archaeological State Park (Florida)
Dickson Mounds (Illinois)
Dyar site (Georgia) (Submerged under a lake)
Eaker Site (Arkansas) (On Eaker Air Force Base)
Emerald Mound and Village Site (Illinois)

Nikwasi (North Carolina)
Nodena Site (Arkansas)
Ocmulgee National Monument (Georgia)
Old Town Archaeological Site (Tennessee)
Parkin Archeological State Park (Arkansas)
Prather Site  (Indiana)
Punk Rock Shelter (Georgia) (Submerged under a lake)
Rembert Mounds (Georgia)
Riverview Mounds Archaeological Site (Tennessee)
Rowlandton Mound Site (Kentucky)
Sellars Indian Mound (Tennessee) (See my video visit to Sellars Farm here)
Shiloh Indian Mounds Site (Tennessee)
Sixtoe Mound (Georgia)
Slack Farm (Kentucky)
Spiro Mounds (Oklahoma)
Sugarloaf Mound (Missouri)
Summerour Mound Site (Georgia) (Submerged under a lake)
Swallow Bluff Island Mounds (Tennessee) (May be submerged under a river)
Talley Mound (Alabama)
Tolu Sit (Kentucky)
Town Creek Indian Mound (North Carolina)
Towosahgy State Historic Site (Missouri)
Travellers Rest (Tennessee)
Turk Site (Kentucky)
Twin Mounds Site (Kentucky)
Welborn Village Archeological Site (Indiana)
Wickliffe mounds (Kentucky)
Wilbanks Site (Georgia) (Submerged under a lake)
Winterville Site (Mississippi)

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