Coordinates: Latitude: 31.1251417 Longitude: -92.0500333
— From La 1 in Marksville, head north on La 452 (Preston
Street). Go 0.7 mile to Martin Luther King Drive; turn right.
Go 0.8 mile to Marksville State Historic Site entrance. Marker
is on left.
of Mounds: 7, 2 embankments
of Visible Mounds: 6, 1 embankment
Marksville site originally consisted of at least two earthen embankments
enclosing seven earthen mounds. Much of the site has been obscured
by agriculture and the development of the town of Marksville,
but the Marksville State Historic Site includes the largest embankment
and six mounds. The park is open year-round with a museum and
Construction of these earthworks began around the year 0 AD and
the site was used for nearly 400 years. At the park, the C-shaped
embankment is 3,300 feet long, up to 10 feet high, and encloses
40 acres. Mound 6 at the north end of the plaza is 300 feet in
diameter and 12 feet high. Built in a single act of construction,
it may have served as a stage for events that everyone in the
plaza could watch. Mound 2 at the southern end of the plaza is
310 by 280 feet in size and 12 feet high; its function is unknown.
Mound 4 was a cemetery 100 feet in diameter and 30 feet high,
where at least 36 men, women, and children were buried. These
individuals may represent the families or clans who designed the
site and conducted the ceremonies here. The three small mounds,
3, 5, and X, have an unknown purpose. Mounds 3 and 5 are 50 feet
in diameter and 3 feet high; each was built of white earth that
probably had a symbolic significance to the builders. Mound X
has been severely altered by modern activities, and its original
shape and size are unknown.
The Marksville site is an example of the Hopewell culture that
arose in the Midwestern U.S. beginning about 50 BC. Although the
site was built and used by people whose ancestors had lived in
Louisiana for thousands of years, they chose to participate in
this new culture, along with communities from Florida to Wisconsin,
New York to Kansas. The Hopewell culture can be identified from
the types of earthworks built, decorations on pottery vessels,
and way of burying the dead.
Marksville was a ceremonial center where people from nearby villages
gathered for important social and religious events. The movements
of the sun, moon, and stars determined the timing of these ceremonies.
From Mound 5, lines of sight to other mounds marked the rise and
set on the horizon of the sun, moon, and important stars in the
Milky Way. One important ceremony was the burial of honored members
of the community.
For more information about visiting Marksville State Historic