Atlas of the North American Indian, Third Revised Edition by Carl Waldman

By Carl Waldman

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Louis. The village area along the Illinois River, covering about 4,000 acres with a central urban area and suburbs, contained 85 temple and burial mounds, and sustained an estimated population of 30,000. d. 900 to 1150, basketful of dirt by basketful; by its completion it covered 16 acres at its base and stood 100 feet high. Other important Mississippian centers included Moundville in present-day Alabama; Etowah and Ocmulgee in Georgia; Spiro in Oklahoma; and Hiwassee Island in Tennessee. indd 31 12/1/08 9:29:20 AM © Carl Waldman Although the Mississippian mounds were rectangular and steep-sided like the temple pyramids of Mesoamerica, they were not stone-faced.

C. indd 16 12/1/08 9:29:08 AM myth, Popul Vol, sprang from the Olmec; one of them being that early representations of the Mayan maize god are in a distinctly Olmec style. Mayan greatness resulted not so much from innovation but from refinement of existing cultural traits, as revealed in an intricate mathematical system, including bars, dots, and drawings of shells, as well as a concept of zero; intricate astronomy and calendar systems; hieroglyphic writing on tree-bark paper, both pictographic and ideographic, and with some glyphs even representing sounds or syllables; realistic art styles in both painting and relief carving; and elaborate stone architecture, including such designs as steep-sided pyramids, corbeled vaults, and roof combs.

The Mound Builders Well into the 19th century, theories of lost European tribes still were applied to hundreds of ancient human-made earthworks situated throughout eastern North America, typically in river valleys—many of them enormous, some geometric in shape, and some shaped like animals. Scientific study eventually proved that the earthworks and the artifacts under or near them were aboriginal, still another expression of multifarious early Indian culture. Additional archaeological evidence revealed that advanced mound-building cultures with sizable populations endured for centuries.

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