We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.
Advertiser Disclosure
Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.
How We Make Money
We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently of our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

Who Were the Mound Builders?

Tricia Christensen
By
Updated May 23, 2024
Our promise to you
PublicPeople is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At PublicPeople, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject-matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

The name "mound builders" refers to numerous ancestral Native American tribes that represent much of the cultural advancement of Native Americans in numerous locations in North America. It should be understood that the Mound Builders were not a single tribe. Instead, there were many groups living from the Gulf of Mexico to the Ohio River Valley and the Mississippi River that built different types of sophisticated mounds and had many more cultural advancements than are often credited to ancestral Americans.

The mounds, semi-rounded structures that rose from the earth, could serve several purposes. Effigy mounds were semi-animal shaped mounds. These might have been sites for worship or for burials. One of the most famous of these still in existence is the 1370 foot (417.58 m) long Serpent Mound located in Ohio. Other mounds looked like flat-topped pyramids and may have been used for religious ceremonies.

Different types of Mounds may date back to 2500 BCE and there’s strong evidence that the advancement of these cultures was significant. For instance, some archaeologists argue that many of the Mound Builders were practicing large scale farming as far back as 6000 BCE. Some people have the mistaken impression that the Native Americans were primarily nomadic and had always been so. These builder tribes show that this was definitely not the case, and advanced cultures and civilizations were not uncommon throughout America. These tribes faded, and it’s hard to tell which tribes could currently claim descendancy from different areas where mounds still exist or may have existed.

When Europeans first traveled to the Americas, they mistakenly assumed that Native Americans could not possibly have been the Mound Builders. In fact, this belief of wise cultures that had developed not only agriculture but also metallurgy, was used as evidence to expel Native Americans from lands they possessed. It was argued that Native Americans destroyed the Mound Builders and thus had no rights to the lands they occupied. This mistaken assumption did not account for a culture that transitioned from something seemingly more advanced to something simpler.

Due to the proliferation of mounds across North America, most archaeologists feel that there was a time in the distant past when numerous large Native American settlements existed. But it’s difficult to decide exactly what each group believed. Archaeologists believe each group of Mound Builders would have had its own set of religious practices and cultural standards, and that these might have differed significantly from the practices of other groups. Mound Builders were not a homogeneous people but many different groups of people with advanced culture.

PublicPeople is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Tricia Christensen
By Tricia Christensen
With a Literature degree from Sonoma State University and years of experience as a PublicPeople contributor, Tricia Christensen is based in Northern California and brings a wealth of knowledge and passion to her writing. Her wide-ranging interests include reading, writing, medicine, art, film, history, politics, ethics, and religion, all of which she incorporates into her informative articles. Tricia is currently working on her first novel.
Discussion Comments
By healthy4life — On Sep 18, 2012

@JackWhack – I understand where you are coming from, but think of all the things we would not know if no one had dug into the mounds. One of the most interesting facts about North American mound builders came to light because of an excavation.

In Ohio, mounds full of the skeletons of giants were found. I'm not exaggerating. There are historical records of this.

The giants were from eight to nine feet tall, and many of them had not one but two rows of teeth in their skulls! Rumors or stories of such people would have remained myth if no one had dared excavate their remains.

By JackWhack — On Sep 17, 2012

I find it strange that the mound builders buried their dead above ground. Mound builders were Native Americans, and they usually held things like this sacred. So, why would they bury their dead in such a way that they could more easily be disturbed?

I detest the fact that researchers have dug up the dead in these mounds. They then put the dirt back where it was so that no one can tell the difference.

I know that they are curious about the past, but should they really be digging up the dead to get answers to their questions? Isn't it better just to let them rest in peace?

By lighth0se33 — On Sep 17, 2012

I often travel on the Natchez Trace from Mississippi to Nashville, and I have seen the mounds there that are a part of the history of Native Americans in the area. There is a rest stop in view of the mounds with a display of information about them.

The mounds are wider than they are tall, and they are rounded. I have walked out to them before. They are located in a wide open field.

Tricia Christensen
Tricia Christensen
With a Literature degree from Sonoma State University and years of experience as a PublicPeople contributor, Tricia...
Learn more
PublicPeople, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

PublicPeople, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.