Mound 6 (Twin Mounds)

Pinson Mounds State Archaeological Park

The time frame from 200 BCE - 600 CE, in North American history, is known as the Middle Woodland Period.  During this large span of time prehistoric native cultures began to move farther from the coasts of the continent, settle in ever larger communities, and established a far-reaching trade network.  Also during this period the native inhabitants began building huge geometric earthworks as well as earthen mounds of all sizes.  Thousands upon thousands of these structures were constructed during this period, across what is now the eastern United States.  Primarily used for religous or ceremonial purposes, a large proportion of mounds have been found to contain elaborate tombs as well.  Another unique attribute of these ancient mounds is that rarely were they part of any one neighboring community.  It has been determined that many were built in numerous stages, by tribes from all over the regions which surround them.  Pinson Mounds, in western Tennessee, was just such a place.  Containing over a dozen mounds, along with earthworks and living platforms...ancient artifacts from as far away as south Georgia, Mobile Bay and Louisiana have been found at the site.  In its time the Pinson Complex must have been a wonder to behold...even today though, it still has the power to amaze.

The first European to "discover" the site was a land speculator named Joel Pinson, whose name had been given the complex by 1820.  Still, it was nearly another century before any academic interest was given the complex. Finally, in 1916, the Smithsonian Institution sent an archaeologist named William E. Meyer to study it.  Meyer soon produced the first detailed maps of the site.  From the 1960's until the 1990's the Pinson Mound Complex was the site of numerous excavations and studies.  In 1974 it was permanently protected by Tennessee's legislature as Pinson Mounds Archaeological State Park.  Today the park contains over 1,200 acres of protected land, over 6-miles of trails, and a 4,500-squre foot museum/visitor center constructed to replicate an ancient platform mound.  It's an amazing piece of preserved history and one, it seems, should recieve far more attention than it does.   


The following are the historic features visible to the public (in order of appearance in the album):

Mound 11 Sector  (habitation site)

Sauls Mound  ( 72 feet; 1-300 CE )

Mound 12  ( 4.5 feet; 400-500 CE )

Mound 14 Sector  (wall trench house site)

Mound 15  ( 4 feet; 1-300 CE )

Barrow Pit  (ancient dig site)

Mound 10  ( 4.5 feet; 200 CE )

Mound 17  ( 6 feet )

Geometric Enclosure  ( 1,200' diameter; 16.5 acres )

Mound 29  ( 12 feet; 1-300 CE )

Mound 30  ( 3.5 feet; 1-300 CE )

Mound 28 ( 13.5 feet; 1-300 CE )

Mound 31  ( 3 feet; 300-400 CE )

Twin Mounds  ( 23 feet & 26 feet; 100-200 CE )

Ozier Mound  ( 33 feet; 100 BCE-100 CE )


- Dakota Sioux proverb

  • Dave Kathy Weemhoff

    on November 24, 2022

    Intriguingly amazing - never heard of this piece of history - or place! Thanks for sharing!