Saturday, March 6, 2010

Ocmulgee National Monument

Keeping with our theme of visiting National Park service units while in middle Georgia, today we drove to Macon to visit the Ocmulgee National Monument.  On our way, we stopped by my brother’s to drag him along for the outing.
Visitor Center and Museum

Earth Lodge as seen from the Visitor Center

It is estimated that native peoples have lived on the Macon Plateau for more than 9,000 years.  Eventually, the Woodland Indians began to establish villages in the area and plant their crops of squash, beans, and corn.  The Ocmulgee site really focuses on the Mississippian people who planted extensively and established large villages.   There are several mounds on this site, but the most notable are the greater and lesser temple mounds and the funeral mound.  Also reconstructed at this site is the earth lodge.  It also looks like a mound from a distance, but is a large meeting room completely covered by sod used as a ceremonial building.
Entrance to Earth Lodge

Great Temple Mound in the distance

We were also impressed with the fantastic art deco style visitor center.  This building was started in the 1930s, but due to funding issues was not finished until the 1950s.

Much of the southeast is dotted with mounds built by Mississippians.  Ocmulgee is typical of many such sites in Georgia, Alabama, and Tennessee.  We have visited several mounds over the years.  The best we’ve seen so far is Cahokia Mounds in Illinois.  It has the distinction of being an International Heritage site and is worthy of that honor.  If you’re ever near St. Louis, give it a visit.

We stopped for a late lunch of BBQ, then dropped my brother off at his home before returning to Perry.  I now have to concentrate of getting my home cleaned up and the laundry done.  That should occupy my time tomorrow.

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