A massive 3,117-foot-long ridge, or embankment, encircles six mounds and almost 40 acres at Marksville. That is the size of nearly 20 soccer fields! A ditch runs along the outside of the embankment, marking the area where people took soil to build the embankment. People passed in and out of the enclosed area through three small gaps. Two of these gaps lie close together on the south side of the embankment. They lead to a causeway across the ditch and to the Outer Circle.
The embankment stands nearly 10 feet high at its peak and under 2 feet at its lowest point. Why does its height vary so much? It varies because the embankment was built in relation to the natural ground
surface. The embankment is lowest where the ground surface is highest, and it is tallest where the ground level is lowest. Building it this way means the top of the embankment is at the same elevation all around the site.
It is clear that people built the site with a plan in mind. The embankment is a part of that plan. People may have used the embankment to help track the movement of the sun, moon and stars, perhaps to plan ceremonial events. This interpretation is difficult to prove, though. To date, no data have been found at the site to suggest this is clearly the case.
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