Marker Logo HMdb.org THE HISTORICAL
MARKER DATABASE
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Near New Houlka in Chickasaw County, Mississippi — The American South (East South Central)
 

Owl Creek Mounds

A Ceremonial Site and Its Surrounding Area

 
 
Owl Creek Mounds Marker image. Click for full size.
By Duane Hall, June 4, 2015
1. Owl Creek Mounds Marker
Inscription. The first humans came to North America by crossing the Bering Strait land bridge, which connected Siberia and Alaska. Their descendants arrived in this part of Mississippi nearly 12,000 years ago. The oldest mounds in the state were built by people who hunted animals and gathered wild plants for food. Later mounds were the handiwork of prehistoric farmers. The Owl Creek Mounds site was built and used by farming people belonging to the Mississippian culture, A.D. 1000 to 1500.

The Owl Creek site consists of five mounds arranged around a central open area. Mounds I and II are publicly owned, while Mounds III, IV, and V are on private land. The mounds were described in 1805 by Dr. Rush Nutt, an early traveler through the area. He wrote that all five mounds were flat on top. Today, only Mound I remains close to its prehistoric appearance. As late as the 1960s, the mounds were plowed and planted, changing their shape and size. The county road was also widened, cutting away part of Mound V.

People probably came to the mounds for special events but lived in small farmsteads scattered on high ground along Chuquatonchee, Tallabinnela, Tubbalubba, and other nearby creeks. The small farmsteads are marked by a few pieces of shell-tempered pottery and other everyday artifacts. Some of these residential sites have been located
Topographic Map of Owl Creek Mounds image. Click for full size.
By Duane Hall, June 4, 2015
2. Topographic Map of Owl Creek Mounds
Close-up of map on marker
by archaeologists searching the surface of the ground for artifacts.

A ground stone axe was found in Goodfood Creek near the mounds. Since it was made from a fragile type of rock called limonite, it was probably a ceremonial object. The axe may have served as a symbol for an important leader, perhaps someone in charge of the ceremonies at the mounds.

The Owl Creek site is intriguing because the mounds show that massive construction was done during the early part of the Mississippian period, yet the site was abandoned after only a hundred years. During its use, Owl Creek was the largest mound site in a region covering thousands of square miles. The nature of the ceremonies carried out at the mounds and the reason for the site’s abandonment remain a mystery.
 
Erected by United States Forest Service and Mississippi State University.
 
Location. 34° 3.374′ N, 88° 55.44′ W. Marker is near New Houlka, Mississippi, in Chickasaw County. Marker can be reached from County Road 413 2.5 miles west of Natchez Trace Parkway, on the right when traveling west. Touch for map. Marker is located at the Owl Creek Archaeological Site in Tombigbee National Forest. Marker is in this post office area: Houlka MS 38850, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within
Mississippian Culture Villages near Owl Creek Mounds image. Click for full size.
By Duane Hall, June 4, 2015
3. Mississippian Culture Villages near Owl Creek Mounds
Close-up of map on marker
6 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Archaeology at Owl Creek Mounds (a few steps from this marker); a different marker also named Archaeology at Owl Creek Mounds (within shouting distance of this marker); Archaeology Determines the Age of Owl Creek Mounds (within shouting distance of this marker); De Soto's Expedition (within shouting distance of this marker); Hernando de Soto (approx. 2.6 miles away); Monroe Mission Station (approx. 3.2 miles away); Chickasaw Agency (approx. 3.3 miles away); Battle of Okolona (approx. 5.3 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in New Houlka.
 
Categories. Native AmericansScience & Medicine
 
Owl Creek Mounds Archaeological Site image. Click for full size.
By Duane Hall, June 4, 2015
4. Owl Creek Mounds Archaeological Site
Marker in Front of Mound II image. Click for full size.
By Duane Hall, June 4, 2015
5. Marker in Front of Mound II
Owl Creek Mound I image. Click for full size.
By Duane Hall, June 4, 2015
6. Owl Creek Mound I
Marker is nearest marker on left
Owl Creek Mound II as viewed from top of Mound I image. Click for full size.
By Duane Hall, June 4, 2015
7. Owl Creek Mound II as viewed from top of Mound I
Marker is furthest marker away on right side of Mound II
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on June 25, 2015, by Duane Hall of Abilene, Texas. This page has been viewed 239 times since then and 46 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4, 5. submitted on June 25, 2015, by Duane Hall of Abilene, Texas.   6. submitted on June 24, 2015, by Duane Hall of Abilene, Texas.   7. submitted on June 25, 2015, by Duane Hall of Abilene, Texas.
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