Owl Creek Mounds

Owl Creek Mounds (HM1LBB)

Location: New Houlka, MS 38850 Chickasaw County
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Country: United States of America
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N 34° 3.374', W 88° 55.44'

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A Ceremonial Site and Its Surrounding Area

The first humans came to North America by crossing the Bering Strait land bridge, which connected Siberia and Alaska. Their descendants arrived in this part of Mississippi nearly 12,000 years ago. The oldest mounds in the state were built by people who hunted animals and gathered wild plants for food. Later mounds were the handiwork of prehistoric farmers. The Owl Creek Mounds site was built and used by farming people belonging to the Mississippian culture, A.D. 1000 to 1500.

The Owl Creek site consists of five mounds arranged around a central open area. Mounds I and II are publicly owned, while Mounds III, IV, and V are on private land. The mounds were described in 1805 by Dr. Rush Nutt, an early traveler through the area. He wrote that all five mounds were flat on top. Today, only Mound I remains close to its prehistoric appearance. As late as the 1960s, the mounds were plowed and planted, changing their shape and size. The county road was also widened, cutting away part of Mound V.

People probably came to the mounds for special events but lived in small farmsteads scattered on high ground along Chuquatonchee, Tallabinnela, Tubbalubba, and other nearby creeks. The small farmsteads are marked by a few pieces of shell-tempered pottery and other everyday artifacts. Some of these residential sites have been located by archaeologists searching the surface of the ground for artifacts.

A ground stone axe was found in Goodfood Creek near the mounds. Since it was made from a fragile type of rock called limonite, it was probably a ceremonial object. The axe may have served as a symbol for an important leader, perhaps someone in charge of the ceremonies at the mounds.

The Owl Creek site is intriguing because the mounds show that massive construction was done during the early part of the Mississippian period, yet the site was abandoned after only a hundred years. During its use, Owl Creek was the largest mound site in a region covering thousands of square miles. The nature of the ceremonies carried out at the mounds and the reason for the site's abandonment remain a mystery.
Placed ByUnited States Forest Service and Mississippi State University
Marker ConditionNo reports yet
Date Added Thursday, June 25th, 2015 at 10:03am PDT -07:00
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Locationbig map
UTM (WGS84 Datum)16S E 322427 N 3770061
Decimal Degrees34.05623333, -88.92400000
Degrees and Decimal MinutesN 34° 3.374', W 88° 55.44'
Degrees, Minutes and Seconds34° 3' 22.44" N, 88° 55' 26.4" W
Driving DirectionsGoogle Maps
Area Code(s)662
Which side of the road?Marker is on the right when traveling West
Closest Postal AddressAt or near 1153-1185 Co Rd 413, New Houlka MS 38850, US
Alternative Maps Google Maps, MapQuest, Bing Maps, Yahoo Maps, MSR Maps, OpenCycleMap, MyTopo Maps, OpenStreetMap

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