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Wednesday, August 3, 2011

101 Places to See Before You're 12 - An Ancient City

An Ancient City
After visiting friends in Birmingham, the boys and I toured Moundville Archeological Park near Tuscaloosa, Alabama.  The book listed Moundville in their section on ancient cities.  I had never heard of it so we decided to check it out.  This was our 50th "101 Places"!

800 years ago, this was the most populated "city" in North America!
It was populated from roughly 1000-1450 A.D.
The Mississipian Native Americans from that time period built 26 earthen mounds in this 300 acre town. 
Moundville is in the Black Warrior Valley and was a town, political and religious center in its day.
The earthen mounds were used for supporting nobles' residences, some as a mortuary, and some for religious purposes. 

Moundville is very much like Pinson Mounds that we toured earlier this year, but Moundville is quite a bit larger.  We enjoyed watching the video and seeing all the displays in their Visitors Center.  This is a very popular field trip site in Alabama.
Approaching the mounds

Mound B - where the chief would have lived

Hiking up to the top of Mound B

Recreated steps up Mound B

A re-created chief's home 

Looking out from the top of the Mound

Displays in the Visitors Center

Estimated at 1000 years old. 
Brennan said it was cute enough to be sold at Target!

Area behind the Mounds on the Black Warrior River. 
It was so pretty - would have been a great place for a picnic!

From the Book:
#An Ancient City
Greek temples, Egyptian pyramids, and Aztec cities are oh-so-fascinating, but oh-so-far-away.  Did you know there are lots of places where you can explore ancient civilizations right here in North America?  Earthworks; effigy mounds shaped like bears, snakes, and other animals; cliff dwellings; and pueblo ruins all offer a look into North American life centuries before European settlers arrived.  Standing in a place where people conducted ceremonies or just played stickball thousands of years ago, you can just feel the history.  How were the people who lived here like you and how were they different?  Thousands of years from now, will a kid stand in what was once your backyard and wonder the same thing?

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