Friday, October 14, 2011

Ocmulgee National Monument

My quest to visit all the units administered by the National Park Service recently led me to Macon, Georgia to visit Ocmulgee National Monument.

Ocmulgee was the location of an Indian village dating back thousands of years.  A community first of Paleo-indians then Woodland then Mississippian.  These peoples were the ancestors of the Cherokee and Creek Indians.

These ancient people were mound builders.  Unfortunately, many of these areas were destroyed as 'white man' settled in the area.  The central railroad constructed a rail line through a portion of one of the mounds.  Some of the dirt from the mounds were used as fill dirt.  Many relics and evidence of human burials were removed during these periods.  In this photo, you can see the scar that was cut across the land by the railroad grade.
In 1933, a group of local citizens became convinced of the historical significance of the area.  They sought assistance from the Smithsonian Institution, who sent someone to conduct archeological excavations.  Many treasures were unearthed, leading to the establishment of the monument.

The day of my visit was mid-week so I was one of only a handful of visitors.  It enabled me to see the site in quiet reflection.  The mounds were temples, ceremonial structures, burial sites.  Places that are still held sacred by Native Americans.
One of the things that I found fascinating was the earth lodge.  The floor of this lodge was discovered during an archaeological dig and has been dated to 1050AD.  I stood for a long time gazing at these seats in the lodge.  Wondering about the lives of the people that had sat in this very place.

History amazes me.


Busy Bee Suz said...

Such a shame that so much of our native american historical sites were us.
That lodge is absolutely beautiful!!!

snghere said...

Beautiful, Lori!

Mental P Mama said...

Wow...never knew about this!

Desert Survivor said...

Very cool! Looks like an interesting place to visit.