Ceremonial Life


     American Indians built the Marksville site in a Hopewell style. This means the site has different kinds of mounds that, together, form geometric patterns on the land. Builders enclosed these mounds inside an embankment, an earthen ridge that surrounded the site. Yet, it was not just how the site was built that ties it to Hopewell culture. Just as important is how the site was used.


     Archaeologists have not found any houses at Marksville. This means that American Indians probably used the site just for ceremonies. They also honored the dead there. Mound 4 was only used for the burials of important people, and perhaps their families. The earthworks and burials are the strongest signs of a Hopewell connection at the site.


Geometry  is a way for people to think logically about space. It is a process that expresses patterns that can be seen in the natural world. The people of Marksville tapped into that process. The result was a beautiful arrangement of mounds, each built in a unique relationship to the others (above).


The geometric patterns found at some Hopewell sites are very complex. Some patterns, like those found at the Newark site in Ohio (left), may have been used as a way to track the paths of the sun, moon and stars. Painting by Steven Patricia. www.snpatricia.com



Artist's interpretation of the Newark site.
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