Focused on Mississippi: Emerald Mound

Focused on Mississippi

ADAMS COUNTY, Miss. (WJTV) – Just north of Natchez, well marked just off the Natchez Trace is Emerald Mound. Now, Mississippi is chock-full of Indian Mounds, but Emerald is special.

It is so large primarily. It covers eight acres. With the base mound being about 30 feet high. And then secondary mounds on either end of the base mound raising the highest point to about 60 feet. Emerald is the second largest Mississippian Period Mound in the nation.

It is a ceremonial mound. It once had a ring of the smaller mounds all around the top. All but two have eroded away. In all likely hood Emerald Mound had a temple on top. Perhaps a residence for the Chief or the High Priest. The exact usage is educated conjecture because the culture had all but died out by the time Europeans came here in the 1600s and started writing things down.

Let me tell you what this mound says to me. First of all, someone wanted it real bad to go to all the work to build it. Can you imagine how long it would take and how expensive it would be to dig up the dirt- haul it here- and pile it up and build this today? Even with modern machinery it would take a while. Now, how about building this one basket-full of dirt at a time. AND keeping the civic and social structure of the community functioning at the same time. I mean, someone still had to hunt or raise food to feed everybody while all of this was being built. The native American’s must have had a keen social order to do this and all the other mound projects and still make a living. 

It’s worth seeing. Someone went to a lot of trouble to build it. The National Park Service owns the mound, now so all of the federal COVID-19 guidelines apply while you are here. This is also a Native American sacred site, so be respectful of it as much as you would the old cathedrals in Europe or the pyramids in Egypt. 

By the way, the name ‘Emerald Mound’ comes from Emerald Plantation, that’s the name of the plantation where the mound used to be. It was first called Seltzer Mound for a nearby town that that gone extinct over time.

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