Native Cemeteries and Forms of Burial East of the Mississippi

By David I. Bushnell Jr. | Go to book overview

A few objects of stone and shell and some copper beads were associated with the various burials, but apparently . nothing of European origin was encountered. Other mounds of equal interest marking the positions of the same period were examined and described by the same writer.

The interior arrangement of the mound just mentioned, the mound upon which the great rotunda of Chote may have stood for many years, is quite suggestive of the traditional account of such a mound as related to Mooney by one of his most conservative informants. The circle of stones, with a mass of ashes and charcoal within the inclosure, seems to be explained by this tradition.

"Some say that the mounds were built by another people. Others say they were built by the ancestors of the old Aní Kĭtúhwagi for townhouse foundations, so that the townhouses would be safe when freshets came. The townhouse was always built on the level bottom lands by the river in order that the people might have smooth ground for their dances and ballplays and might be able to go down to water during the dance. When they were ready to build the mound they began by laying a circle of stones on the surface of the ground. Next they made a fire in the center of the circle and put near it the body of some prominent chief or priest who had lately died-- some say seven chief men from the different clans. . . . The mound was then built up with earth, which the women brought in beskets . . ." ( Mooney, (2), p. 395.)

And so the tradition continues, relating the various ceremonies which attended the construction of the work. This was not the account of the building of any particular mound, but merely the description, in general, of the construction of an elevated site upon which the town house would later be reared. Of what great interest would be a detailed account of the various rites which were enacted at the time the fire was kindled within the circle of stones; at the time the bodies of the great men were placed on the surface, later to be covered by the mound of earth. The remains were probably wrapped and decorated with the richest possessions of the living, with ornaments and objects of a perishable nature, all of which, unfortunately, soon crumbled away and so disappeared, leaving only scant traces of what had once been covered by the earth, "which the women brought in baskets."


MUSKHOGEAN GROUPS

The southern pine lands, from the Mississippi to the Atlantic and from the lowlands of the Gulf coast to the southern Alleghenies, was the home of Muskhogean tribes. The Choctaw, Natchez, and Chickasaw lived in the West. Numerous smaller tribes, later recognized as forming the Creek confederacy, occupied the valleys of the Coosa,

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Native Cemeteries and Forms of Burial East of the Mississippi
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page 1
  • Preface 5
  • Contents 7
  • Illustrations 9
  • Algonquian Groups 11
  • Stone-Lined Graves 44
  • Burials in Caves 58
  • Iroquoian Groups 65
  • Muskhogean Groups 70
  • Siouan Groups 93
  • Conclusion 122
  • Bibliography 149
  • Index 157
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