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Etowah Indian Mounds Historic Site Guide

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Outside view of Etowah Historic Site | TheYogaChick.com
Outside view of Etowah Historic Site

Hubby and I recently visited the Etowah Indian Mounds State Historic site in Cartersville, Georgia. The Etowah Indian Mounds site consists of 54 acres that include historic mounds and a defensive ditch.

History of Etowah Indian Mounds

The Etowah Indian Mounds is the largest Native American settlement in the Etowah Valley. The knolls were used from around 900-1550 A.D. as a platform dwelling to the chief/priest, an elite mortuary ground, and temple areas.

The site was visited by Spanish explorer Hernando De Soto and in a very short time, the town’s population decreased due to European diseases like smallpox and measles.

The Etowah fled and survivors joined nearby groups and became known as the Creeks. Eventually the lad was passed out via the Georgia Land Lottery. In 1964, the site became recognized as a Registered National Historic Landmark.

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The Historic Site Trail

The trail begins inside a nicely air-conditioned museum. (We saved the museum for last). Outside we followed a walking trail that allowed us to walk up to all three different Indian Mounds. The first Mound was crazy tall.

Replica Indian Mud Hut at Etowah
Replica Indian Mud Hut at Etowah

Mound #1

Steps leading up to Mound A
Steps leading up to Mound #1

It is a 63-foot (about 6 stories high) knoll that was likely used as a platform for the home of the priest-chief.

This mound housed the Etowah chief and his family. The chief presided over ceremonies that took place in the plaza below. The view is magnificent. At the top, you can see the outline of the entire site.

Mound A and Mound B
Mound #1 and 2 in the view

Mound #2

Next was Mound #2. Mound #2 was also a temple platform. The second mound is where nobility was probably buried in elaborate costumes accompanied by items they would need in their after-lives. Most likely a lesser chief or priest lived on top of this mound. This mound is not fully excavated however remnants of a large building, possibly belonging to a council house, was found.

Mound #3

Mound #3 was a burial mound. This mound was completely excavated and reconstructed. Approximately 350 burials were unearthed. This mound was built in layers and most of the artifacts found in the Etowah Historic Indian Museum were found in this mound.

Walking towards Mound #3
Taking in all of the beauty and history from the top of Mound B
Taking in all of the beauty and history from the top of Mound #2

Etowah River Walk

Etowah River Walk

There is a nature trail that begins near the river and follows the river downstream for a few hundred feet. If you follow the trail, you will walk past the defensive ditch, and end up back at the museum. While walking, expect to see plenty of trees such as walnut, birch, hickory, and oak. We also saw the cutest baby deer.

There are also a few plants such as privet, honeysuckle, paper mulberry, and mimosa.

Everything was so peaceful and serene. Word of advice: make sure you wear sunscreen and use plenty of bug spray!

Birdhouse along the Etowah Nature Trail
Birdhouse along the Etowah Nature Trail
 Baby deer on the Etowah Nature Trail
Baby deer on the Etowah Nature Trail

Etowah Indian Museum

Feather Headdress inside of the museum
Feather Headdress inside of the museum

The museum inside may be the best part of the visit. There are a ton of cool artifacts and replicas. Inside the museum, we viewed native artifacts and replicas of headdresses, jewelry, pots, and weapons. After walking through the museum, you can catch a short film about Etowah history. There was so much to learn about.

Jewelry inside the museum
Jewelry inside the museum
Image courtesy of Etowah Indian Mounds State Historic Site
Image courtesy of Etowah Indian Mounds State Historic Site

The Etowah Indian Mounds are located at 813 Indian Mound Rd. SE, Cartersville, GA. The perimeter trail is 1 1/8 miles and the river walk nature trail is 5/8 mile. Leashed dogs are allowed on the outside grounds.

You can find out more information about the Etowah Indian Mounds at the Georgia State Parks website.

Here are a few of the items I recommend if you plan to visit:

Want to check out some of our other travels? We recently visited cool places in Helen, Georgia.

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Etowwah Historic Indian Mounds Guide | TheYogaChick.com

All photos © Mike Mason 2019

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Some links on my website may be affiliate links and I may earn revenue from purchases as a result of buying something through those links.

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