|The Great Sun's Mound|
The Natchez peace chief is the Great Sun, who traditionally was carried in a litter and whose feet never touched the ground. The title of the war chief was the Tattooed Serpent. The Grand Village is dominated by the Great Sun's Mound, an immense platform mound, and the Temple Mound, aligned 30 degrees off from the cardinal points.
|Pecan, Carya illinoinensis|
In the future, I'll never think of mounds without thinking of pecan trees. Their heights were dizzying, and many of the trees might have been alive when the village was still active. It's interesting to consider that while the thick, green grass is such a prominent feature of mounds today, all turf grasses were imported from Europe. Ground covers such as sorrel, purslane, other spreading plants, or bunch grasses are indigenous, but many mounds and plazas were carefully capped with color clay or sprinkled with fine river sand.
|Alligator basket by Lorena Langley (Coushatta)|
For more information about our trip, please visit Exploring the Ancient Southeastern Woodlands.
|A montage attempting to convey the immense size of Emerald Mound, Adams, MS|
What I haven't read anywhere about the mounds is how much living tribes visit and use the mounds. Natchez traditionalists have traveled from Oklahoma and have held dances on top of Emerald Mound. Despite removal, tribes still maintain relationships to their sacred sites today.