Published on December 9, 2010 by John
The Kolomoki Mounds are Woodland Period mounds built in Early County, Georgia. The mounds were named a National Historic Landmark in 1964.
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Kolomoki Mounds State Historic Park is an important archaeological site as well as a scenic recreational area. Kolomoki, covering some three hundred acres, is one of the larger preserved mound sites in the USA. Hundreds of years ago, Kolomoki, with its surrounding villages, burial mounds, and ceremonial plaza, was a center of population and activity in North America. The eight visible mounds of earth in the park were built between 250-950 A.D. by Swift Creek and Weeden Island Indians. American Indians occupied the lands from 350 to 750 A.D. These mounds include Georgia’s oldest great temple mound, two burial mounds and four smaller ceremonial mounds. The park’s museum is built with part of an excavated mound inside, providing an unusual setting for viewing artifacts and a film about how the mound was built and excavated. Astronomical alignments have been noted for several mounds at the Kolomoki site. Mounds A, D, and E which form the central axis of the site form an alignment with the sun at the spring equinox. Mounds F and D form an alignment with the sun at the summer solstice.
The Temple Mound is 56 feet (17 m) high and measures 325 by 200 feet (61 m) at the base. Research indicates that it would have taken over 2 million basket loads, each holding one cubic foot of earth, to build this mound. The Southern half of the mound is three feet higher and was probably the temple platform. From the top of the steps you can view most of the Kolomoki Archaeological Area. Approximately 1,500 – 2,000 residents lived in a village of thatched houses arched around the plaza.
Mound D is one of the eight visible mounds at the Kolomoki site. It is a conical mound that reaches up 20 feet (6.1 m) from the ground. It is centrally located at Kolomoki. Here were discovered the remnants of 77 burials and ceremonial pottery. The effigy pottery discovered was shaped in various shapes, such as deer, quail and owls.
Mound D was formed in several stages, each time increasing in size. It began as a square-platform mound that was about six feet tall. This original platform mound was built from yellow clay. 60 pottery vessels were placed on the east wall including the above effigy pottery. The mound evolved into a larger circular mound about 10 feet (3.0 m) tall after many subsequent burials here and the addition of even more yellow clay. These burials took place on the eastern side of the mound, and skulls face eastward. Burial objects made from iron and copper and even pearl beads were included in the aforementioned burials. Finally, the entire mound was covered with red clay.
One night in March 1974, someone slipped into the old museum at the park and stole more than 129 ancient pots and effigies, numerous arrowheads and other treasures. Every artifact on display was stolen. Several years later, many of the pieces were recovered from Miami and St. Augustine, Florida. However, more than 70 relics are still missing, and the Georgia Department of Natural Resources (DNR) is seeking public help in recovering these artifacts. Archeologists believe the pots are somewhere in Georgia or Florida.
“These pieces are an important part of North American history and should be properly protected for future generations to study,” said Park Manager Matt Bruner. “They have significant meaning to the Native American people because many were used during burial ceremonies, plus they represent some of the finest craftsmanship of the Kolomoki culture.” He emphasized that the state is more interested in recovering the pots than prosecuting the people who have them.
To aid in his search, a website has been developed that lists photos and descriptions of all the missing pieces. Bruner is asking people to go online at the website in the external links section too see if anything is familiar. Officials believe the pots were stolen by thieves who may have sold them to unsuspecting collectors. Anyone with leads is encouraged to call the park at 229-724-2150.
2 Lakes (50 acres and 80 acres)
Indian Museum and Gift Shop (Free-$4)
24 Tent, Trailer, RV Campsites ($24)
7 Picnic Shelters ($30–$60)
2 Group Shelters (seat 50 and 120, $90–$120)
Group Camp (sleeps 135, $550 per night)
2 Pioneer Campgrounds ($35 per night)
Swimming Pool (CLOSED)
Fishing — dock, boats for rent
Boating — ramp, 10 hp (7.5 kW) limit
Pedal Boat, Jon Boat, and Canoe Rental
Hiking – 5 miles (8.0 km) of trails