Earth Lodge at Ocmulgee
A prehistoric earth lodge has
been reconstructed at the
Ocmulgee Mounds site.
Bird Effigy at Ocmulgee
An original bird effigy platform
can be seen inside the earth
lodge at Ocmulgee, where
ancient councils were held.
Ocmulgee National Monument - Macon, Georgia - Ocmulgee National Monument, Georgia - Ocmulgee National Monument, Georgia
Ocmulgee National Monument
The ancient mounds of the Macon Plateau comprise
one of the most significant archaeological sites in
the Southeastern United States.
Mounds of the Macon Plateau
Ocmulgee National Monument, home of one
of the most impressive archaeological sites
in the South, is located on the eastern edge
of the modern city of
Macon, Georgia.

Centuries before the founding of Macon, this
plateau was the scene of an impressive
religious and political center. Today the site
is noted for its remarkable ancient mounds,
the largest of which rises 55 feet above the
Macon Plateau.

Dating from the Mississippian era, the site
reached its height between 900 and 1100
years ago. During that time, Ocmulgee was
the center of a major ceremonial complex
overlooking the Ocmulgee River, as well as a
political center that featured a remarkable
earth lodge capable of seating 50 high status
leaders. Each had an assigned seat while
the three top leaders viewed the assembly
from an elevated platform formed in the
shape of a giant bird.

The Mississippian culture takes its name
from the great river from which it spread to
dominate life in the South for more than 700
years. The last vestiges of Mississippian life
were still in place when European explorers
reached North America during the 1500s.

Creek Indian legend holds that Ocmulgee
was established by invaders from the West
who settled here and warred against the
original inhabitants of the region. Scientists
have not yet been able to verify the tradition,
but they have learned a great deal about the
people who lived at the site.

Excavations have revealed that Ocmulgee
was the home to an estimated 1,000 Native
Americans who farmed corn, squash,
pumpkins, beans and even tobacco in the
rich bottom lands of the Ocmulgee River. The
inhabitants of the town traded with towns
hundreds of miles away and created pottery
vessels adorned with unique effigies of
humans and animals.

The people of the Ocmulgee site also
worked in copper, producing ceremonial
headdresses and other items from metal
obtained from the mountains of Georgia and
It is unclear what led to the decline of the site,
but it had been all but abandoned by around
1100 A.D.

A trading post was established at the mound
complex by the English during the late 1600s
and used as a base for attacks on
missions in Florida.

Fort Hawkins was built nearby in 1806 and
actual fighting took place in the park during
the Civil War when Union troops approached
Macon. One of the hiking trails leads to the
remains of an artillery battery used during the

Ocmulgee National Monument is located on
U.S. 80 East in Macon and is open to the
public daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Please click
here to visit the official website fore more
The Lesser Temple Mound
The smaller of the two temple
mounds is seen here from
the Great Temple Mound.
The Ocmulgee Mounds
The mounds at Ocmulgee are
more than 900 years old and
among the most impressive
in the South.
Photos by Ashley Pollette
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