The rings are among the first earthworks that American Indians built at the site. These features vary in size from 30 to 100 feet in diameter. Each ring is less than 4 feet high and is surrounded by a ditch on its outside edge. Inside each ring is a shallow basin, up to 3 feet deep. In the center of each basin is a deep pit, some up to 10 feet across and over 6 feet deep. People built a fire in the deepest pit and cleaned it out after each use.


     It is unclear what kinds of rituals people held at these rings. The earthen ring would have made it hard for people outside of it to see what was taking place in the basin and pit. Small groups probably met for

ceremonies, lighting a fire inside the pit. Eventually, people stopped using each pit and filled it with dirt. They left the ring surrounding each pit intact. After the ritual use of the pit ended, people could still see where each one had been.


     Most telling, perhaps, is the fact that all but one of these rings are outside of the embankment. If these are ceremonial places, then the ceremonial landscape includes much land outside the embankment. This means that the sacred landscape extended beyond the embankment and mounds.


© 2015 Louisiana Division of Archaeology - click here to return to Discover Archaeology's Interactive Exhibits.