Ceremonial life at Marksville.

     Ceremonies may have even taken place outside the embankment, at an earthen circle and several earthen rings. The circle is south of the embankment and its purpose is not known. A raised walkway connects the circle to the embankment at one of the openings.


     The rings, which are smaller than the circle, were among the first earthworks people built at Marksville. The American Indians built a fire in a pit inside each ring and later cleaned the pit after each use. There is a narrow space between the ring and the fire pit. This means that only small groups of people could have used them at any given time. Archaeologists have not been able to tell what sorts of activities or ceremonies people performed within the rings.


     Some artifacts may shed light on ceremonial use of the site. Archaeologists have found clay pipes at Marksville. Healers or leaders may have used these pipes in



ceremonies. Researchers have also found human figurines at Marksville and other Hopewell sites. Only the head portion of one has been found at Marksville. It is unclear why people made these figurines, but they certainly could have used them in rituals.


    A lack of artifacts also reveals something about the site. Archaeologists have found lots of artifacts along the edge of the bluff where the site overlooks Old River. Yet, they have found few artifacts in the open spaces between the mounds. Perhaps, like the pits in the rings, people cleaned the site plaza between ceremonies and dumped the trash along the bluff. Then again, the activities conducted in the plaza may not have produced any artifacts, or these areas may not have been used by most people. Regardless, it means that the spaces inside the embankment were not all used the same way.

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