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Lamar Mounds and Village Site

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Title: Lamar Mounds and Village Site  
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Subject: Mississippian culture, Joe Bell Site, Lunsford-Pulcher Archeological Site, Routh Mounds, Mitchell Archaeological Site (Mitchell, Illinois)
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Lamar Mounds and Village Site

Lamar Mounds and Village Site
9 BI 2
Lamar Mounds and Village Site9 BI 2
Lamar Mounds and Village Site
9 BI 2
Location within U.S. state of Georgia
Country  USA
Region Bibb County, Georgia
Nearest town Macon, Georgia
Culture South Appalachian Mississippian culture
First occupied 1350 CE
Period Lamar Phase
Abandoned 1600 CE
Excavation and maintenance
Dates excavated 1934, 1936, 1938, 1939-1940, 1996
Notable archaeologists James A. Ford, Arthur R. Kelly, Gordon Willey, Jesse Jennings, Charles Fairbanks, Mark Williams
Architectural styles platform mound
Number of temples


Ocmulgee National Monument
Location 1207 Emory Hwy., E of Macon, Macon, Georgia
Area 702.1 acres (284.1 ha)
Governing body National Park Service
NRHP Reference # 66000099[1]
Added to NRHP October 15, 1966

The Lamar Mounds and Village Site (Ocmulgee National Monument, a national park and historic district created in 1936 and run by the U.S. National Park Service.[2] Historians and archaeologists have theorized that the site may be the location of the main village of the Ichisi encountered by the Hernando de Soto expedition in 1539.[3]

Site description

The site has two large platform mounds and an associated village area surrounded by a palisade. The original settlement may have been started on a natural levee of the Ocmulgee River, a location which eventually became Mound A. The main village area spreads out to the southeast from this location.[2] This location may have been island-like at the time of its settlement, the only high ground located in a low swampy area with the Ocmulgee River on one side and an oxbow lake on the other.[3][4] Houses in the village were rectangular wattle and daub structures, some situated on low house mounds, and the 3,500-foot-long (1,070 m) palisade was made of upright logs covered in clay.[5] The palisade encircled an area of about 25 acres (0.1 km2) and followed the island shape of the raised levee. Out side of the palisade was an encirling ditch, probably water filled at the time of the sites occupation.[4] Mound A is a large mound with a round 10 metres (33 ft) in diameter and 10–15-centimetre (3.9–5.9 in) deep depression located in the northwestern quadrant of its summit. This feature is thought to be the remnants of a collapsed earth lodge with a dugout floor and embanked walls. Unlike other Middle Mississippian culture mounds to the northwest, Lamar-style mounds are more rounded in shape as compared to squared-off rectangles.

Mound B, completely round in shape, has a feature almost unique in southeastern archaeology in that it has a spiral ramp leading to its summit. This and other evidence has led archaeologists to speculate that the mound was in the process of being enlarged and given a new layer of fill when work was abruptly stopped. Unlike other Mississippian sites, no evidence of a meticulously clean plaza has been found at the site, although the large area between mounds was once theorized to be one.[2] Two large pits were made at the site, one inside the palisade and the other outside its perimeter. These were probably borrow pits leftover from mound construction. It is possible the inhabitants used the pits as clean water reservoirs and fish ponds, a use described by the De Soto chroniclers when passing through the area.[4]

Lamar culture

The Lamar site was inhabited from about 1350 to 1600 CE, during the late prehistoric and early historic period of the area. The style of Mississippian culture pottery found at the site has been used to define this period in the regional chronology, making it the type site for the Lamar Phase (also known variously as the Lamar culture and Lamar period).[2]


In 1936 the site was acquired by the United States government and incorporated into the new [2]

Possible location of Ichisi

Proposed de Soto expedition route through Georgia (Hudson 1997).

On March 29, 1539, the McRae in 2009 called this identification into question and suggested the crossing took place approximately 90 miles (140 km) further south. Archaeologists and historians are still debating which of the two sites was actually visited by de Soto and his men.[7]

See also


  1. ^ "National Register of Historic Places". Retrieved 2012-04-14. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f  
  3. ^ a b c  
  4. ^ a b c  
  5. ^ "NPS Historical Handbook : Ocmulgee".  
  6. ^  
  7. ^ Bynum, Russ. "Researcher: Georgia artifacts may point to de Soto's trail". ABC News. Retrieved 2012-04-15. 

External links

  • National Register of Historic Places inventory - nomination form (PDF),
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