Mound
Overview
 
A mound is a general term for an artificial heaped pile of earth
Earth
Earth is the third planet from the Sun, and the densest and fifth-largest of the eight planets in the Solar System. It is also the largest of the Solar System's four terrestrial planets...

, gravel
Gravel
Gravel is composed of unconsolidated rock fragments that have a general particle size range and include size classes from granule- to boulder-sized fragments. Gravel can be sub-categorized into granule and cobble...

, sand
Sand
Sand is a naturally occurring granular material composed of finely divided rock and mineral particles.The composition of sand is highly variable, depending on the local rock sources and conditions, but the most common constituent of sand in inland continental settings and non-tropical coastal...

, rocks, or debris
Debris
Debris is rubble, wreckage, ruins, litter and discarded garbage/refuse/trash, scattered remains of something destroyed, or, in geology, large rock fragments left by a melting glacier etc. The singular form of debris is debris...

. The most common use is in reference to natural earthen formation such as hill
Hill
A hill is a landform that extends above the surrounding terrain. Hills often have a distinct summit, although in areas with scarp/dip topography a hill may refer to a particular section of flat terrain without a massive summit A hill is a landform that extends above the surrounding terrain. Hills...

s and mountain
Mountain
Image:Himalaya_annotated.jpg|thumb|right|The Himalayan mountain range with Mount Everestrect 58 14 160 49 Chomo Lonzorect 200 28 335 52 Makalurect 378 24 566 45 Mount Everestrect 188 581 920 656 Tibetan Plateaurect 250 406 340 427 Rong River...

s, particularly if they appear artificial. The term may also be applied to any rounded area of topographically
Topography
Topography is the study of Earth's surface shape and features or those ofplanets, moons, and asteroids...

 higher elevation
Elevation
The elevation of a geographic location is its height above a fixed reference point, most commonly a reference geoid, a mathematical model of the Earth's sea level as an equipotential gravitational surface ....

 on any surface. Artificial mounds have been created for a variety of reasons throughout history, including ceremonial (platform mound
Platform mound
A platform mound is any earthwork or mound intended to support a structure or activity.-Eastern North America:The indigenous peoples of North America built substructure mounds for well over a thousand years starting in the Archaic period and continuing through the Woodland period...

), burial (tumulus
Tumulus
A tumulus is a mound of earth and stones raised over a grave or graves. Tumuli are also known as barrows, burial mounds, Hügelgrab or kurgans, and can be found throughout much of the world. A tumulus composed largely or entirely of stones is usually referred to as a cairn...

), and commemorative purposes (e.g.
Encyclopedia
A mound is a general term for an artificial heaped pile of earth
Earth
Earth is the third planet from the Sun, and the densest and fifth-largest of the eight planets in the Solar System. It is also the largest of the Solar System's four terrestrial planets...

, gravel
Gravel
Gravel is composed of unconsolidated rock fragments that have a general particle size range and include size classes from granule- to boulder-sized fragments. Gravel can be sub-categorized into granule and cobble...

, sand
Sand
Sand is a naturally occurring granular material composed of finely divided rock and mineral particles.The composition of sand is highly variable, depending on the local rock sources and conditions, but the most common constituent of sand in inland continental settings and non-tropical coastal...

, rocks, or debris
Debris
Debris is rubble, wreckage, ruins, litter and discarded garbage/refuse/trash, scattered remains of something destroyed, or, in geology, large rock fragments left by a melting glacier etc. The singular form of debris is debris...

. The most common use is in reference to natural earthen formation such as hill
Hill
A hill is a landform that extends above the surrounding terrain. Hills often have a distinct summit, although in areas with scarp/dip topography a hill may refer to a particular section of flat terrain without a massive summit A hill is a landform that extends above the surrounding terrain. Hills...

s and mountain
Mountain
Image:Himalaya_annotated.jpg|thumb|right|The Himalayan mountain range with Mount Everestrect 58 14 160 49 Chomo Lonzorect 200 28 335 52 Makalurect 378 24 566 45 Mount Everestrect 188 581 920 656 Tibetan Plateaurect 250 406 340 427 Rong River...

s, particularly if they appear artificial. The term may also be applied to any rounded area of topographically
Topography
Topography is the study of Earth's surface shape and features or those ofplanets, moons, and asteroids...

 higher elevation
Elevation
The elevation of a geographic location is its height above a fixed reference point, most commonly a reference geoid, a mathematical model of the Earth's sea level as an equipotential gravitational surface ....

 on any surface. Artificial mounds have been created for a variety of reasons throughout history, including ceremonial (platform mound
Platform mound
A platform mound is any earthwork or mound intended to support a structure or activity.-Eastern North America:The indigenous peoples of North America built substructure mounds for well over a thousand years starting in the Archaic period and continuing through the Woodland period...

), burial (tumulus
Tumulus
A tumulus is a mound of earth and stones raised over a grave or graves. Tumuli are also known as barrows, burial mounds, Hügelgrab or kurgans, and can be found throughout much of the world. A tumulus composed largely or entirely of stones is usually referred to as a cairn...

), and commemorative purposes (e.g. Kościuszko Mound
Kosciuszko Mound
Kościuszko Mound in Kraków, Poland, erected by Cracovians in commemoration of the Polish national leader Tadeusz Kościuszko, is an artificial mound modeled after Kraków's prehistoric mounds of Krak and Wanda. A serpentine path leads to the top, approx. above sea level, with a panoramic view of...

).

North American archaeology

In the archaeology
Archaeology
Archaeology, or archeology , is the study of human society, primarily through the recovery and analysis of the material culture and environmental data that they have left behind, which includes artifacts, architecture, biofacts and cultural landscapes...

 of the United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

 and Canada
Canada
Canada is a North American country consisting of ten provinces and three territories. Located in the northern part of the continent, it extends from the Atlantic Ocean in the east to the Pacific Ocean in the west, and northward into the Arctic Ocean...

, the term "mound" has specific and technical connotations. In this sense, a mound is a deliberately constructed elevated earthen structure or earthwork
Earthworks (engineering)
Earthworks are engineering works created through the moving or processing of quantities of soil or unformed rock.- Civil engineering use :Typical earthworks include roads, railway beds, causeways, dams, levees, canals, and berms...

, intended for a range of potential uses. In European and Asian archaeology, the word "tumulus
Tumulus
A tumulus is a mound of earth and stones raised over a grave or graves. Tumuli are also known as barrows, burial mounds, Hügelgrab or kurgans, and can be found throughout much of the world. A tumulus composed largely or entirely of stones is usually referred to as a cairn...

" may be used as a synonym for an artificial hill, particularly if the hill is related to particular burial
Burial
Burial is the act of placing a person or object into the ground. This is accomplished by excavating a pit or trench, placing an object in it, and covering it over.-History:...

 customs.

While the term "mound" may be applied to historic constructions, most mounds in the United States are prehistoric
Prehistory
Prehistory is the span of time before recorded history. Prehistory can refer to the period of human existence before the availability of those written records with which recorded history begins. More broadly, it refers to all the time preceding human existence and the invention of writing...

 earthworks, built by Native American
Indigenous peoples of the Americas
The indigenous peoples of the Americas are the pre-Columbian inhabitants of North and South America, their descendants and other ethnic groups who are identified with those peoples. Indigenous peoples are known in Canada as Aboriginal peoples, and in the United States as Native Americans...

 peoples. Native Americans built a variety of mounds, including flat-topped pyramids or cones
Frustum
In geometry, a frustum is the portion of a solid that lies between two parallel planes cutting it....

 known as platform mounds, rounded cones, and ridge or loaf-shaped mounds. Some mounds took on unusual shapes, such as the outline of cosmologically significant animals. These are known as effigy mound
Effigy mound
Sites in the U.S. of similar history may be found at Indian Mounds ParkAn effigy mound is a raised pile of earth built in the shape of a stylized animal, symbol, religious figure, or human figure. Effigy mounds were only built during the Late Woodland Period .Effigy mounds were constructed in many...

s. Some mounds, such as a few in Wisconsin
Wisconsin
Wisconsin is a U.S. state located in the north-central United States and is part of the Midwest. It is bordered by Minnesota to the west, Iowa to the southwest, Illinois to the south, Lake Michigan to the east, Michigan to the northeast, and Lake Superior to the north. Wisconsin's capital is...

, have rock formations, or petroforms within them, on them, or near them.

While these mounds are perhaps not as famous as burial
Burial
Burial is the act of placing a person or object into the ground. This is accomplished by excavating a pit or trench, placing an object in it, and covering it over.-History:...

 mounds, like their European analogs, Native American mounds also have a variety of other uses. While some prehistoric cultures, like the Adena culture
Adena culture
The Adena culture was a Pre-Columbian Native American culture that existed from 1000 to 200 BC, in a time known as the early Woodland Period. The Adena culture refers to what were probably a number of related Native American societies sharing a burial complex and ceremonial system...

, used mounds preferentially for burial, others used mounds for other ritual and sacred acts, as well as for secular functions. The platform mounds of the Mississippian culture
Mississippian culture
The Mississippian culture was a mound-building Native American culture that flourished in what is now the Midwestern, Eastern, and Southeastern United States from approximately 800 CE to 1500 CE, varying regionally....

, for example, may have supported temple
Temple
A temple is a structure reserved for religious or spiritual activities, such as prayer and sacrifice, or analogous rites. A templum constituted a sacred precinct as defined by a priest, or augur. It has the same root as the word "template," a plan in preparation of the building that was marked out...

s, the houses of chief
Tribal chief
A tribal chief is the leader of a tribal society or chiefdom. Tribal societies with social stratification under a single leader emerged in the Neolithic period out of earlier tribal structures with little stratification, and they remained prevalent throughout the Iron Age.In the case of ...

s, council house
City hall
In local government, a city hall, town hall or a municipal building or civic centre, is the chief administrative building of a city...

s, and may have also acted as a platform for public speaking. Other mounds would have been part of defensive walls to protect a certain area. The Hopewell culture
Hopewell culture
The Hopewell tradition is the term used to describe common aspects of the Native American culture that flourished along rivers in the northeastern and midwestern United States from 200 BCE to 500 CE. The Hopewell tradition was not a single culture or society, but a widely dispersed set of related...

 used mounds as markers of complex astronomical alignments related to ceremonies.

Mounds and related earthworks are the only significant monument
Monument
A monument is a type of structure either explicitly created to commemorate a person or important event or which has become important to a social group as a part of their remembrance of historic times or cultural heritage, or simply as an example of historic architecture...

al construction in prehistoric Eastern and Central North America.

Mounds are given different names depending on which culture they strive from. They can be located all across the world in spots such as Asia, Europe and the Americas. "Mound builders" have more commonly been associated with the mounds in the Americas. They all have different meanings and sometimes are constructed as animals and can be clearly seen from aerial views.

Archaeology elsewhere

Mound, as a technical term in archaeology, is not generally in favor in the rest of the world. More specific local terminology is preferred, and each of these terms has its own article (see below).

Mound types

  • Cairn
    Cairn
    Cairn is a term used mainly in the English-speaking world for a man-made pile of stones. It comes from the or . Cairns are found all over the world in uplands, on moorland, on mountaintops, near waterways and on sea cliffs, and also in barren desert and tundra areas...

    • Chambered cairn
      Chambered cairn
      A chambered cairn is a burial monument, usually constructed during the Neolithic, consisting of a cairn of stones inside which a sizeable chamber was constructed. Some chambered cairns are also passage-graves....

  • Effigy mound
    Effigy mound
    Sites in the U.S. of similar history may be found at Indian Mounds ParkAn effigy mound is a raised pile of earth built in the shape of a stylized animal, symbol, religious figure, or human figure. Effigy mounds were only built during the Late Woodland Period .Effigy mounds were constructed in many...

  • Kofun
    Kofun
    Kofun are megalithic tombs or tumuli in Japan, constructed between the early 3rd century and early 7th century. They gave their name to the Kofun period . Many of the Kofun have a distinctive keyhole-shaped mound , unique to ancient Japan...

     (Japanese mounds)
  • Platform mound
    Platform mound
    A platform mound is any earthwork or mound intended to support a structure or activity.-Eastern North America:The indigenous peoples of North America built substructure mounds for well over a thousand years starting in the Archaic period and continuing through the Woodland period...

  • Tell
    Tell
    A tell or tel, is a type of archaeological mound created by human occupation and abandonment of a geographical site over many centuries. A classic tell looks like a low, truncated cone with a flat top and sloping sides.-Archaeology:A tell is a hill created by different civilizations living and...

     (also includes multi-lingual synonyms for mounds in the Near East)
  • Tumulus
    Tumulus
    A tumulus is a mound of earth and stones raised over a grave or graves. Tumuli are also known as barrows, burial mounds, Hügelgrab or kurgans, and can be found throughout much of the world. A tumulus composed largely or entirely of stones is usually referred to as a cairn...

     (Barrow)
    • Bank barrow
      Bank barrow
      A bank barrow, sometimes referred to as a barrow-bank, ridge barrow, or ridge mound, is a type of tumulus first identified by O.G.S. Crawford in 1938....

    • Bell barrow
      Bell barrow
      A bell barrow, sometimes referred to as a Wessex type barrow, campanulate form barrow, or a bermed barrow is a type of tumulus identified as such by both John Aubrey and William Stukeley....

    • Bowl barrow
      Bowl barrow
      Bowl Barrow is the name for a type of burial mound or tumulus. A barrow is a mound of earth used to cover a tomb. The bowl barrow gets its name from the fact that it looks like an upturned bowl...

    • Chambered long barrow
      Chambered long barrow
      Chambered long barrows are a type of megalithic burial monument found in the British Isles in the Neolithic.Long barrows either contained wooden or stone burial structures beneath the barrow and the surviving megalithic stone in the latter means that they are the ones referred to by archaeologists...

    • Kurgan
      Kurgan
      Kurgan is the Turkic term for a tumulus; mound of earth and stones raised over a grave or graves, originating with its use in Soviet archaeology, now widely used for tumuli in the context of Eastern European and Central Asian archaeology....

    • Long barrow
      Long barrow
      A long barrow is a prehistoric monument dating to the early Neolithic period. They are rectangular or trapezoidal tumuli or earth mounds traditionally interpreted as collective tombs...

    • Oval barrow
      Oval barrow
      An oval barrow is the name given by archaeologists to a type of prehistoric burial tumulus of roughly oval shape.In the British mid to late Neolithic and early Bronze Age, oval barrows may indicate a transition between earlier long barrows with multiple burials and the later, more individual round...


See also

  • Fort Ancient
    Fort Ancient
    Fort Ancient is a name for a Native American culture that flourished from 1000-1750 CE among a people who predominantly inhabited land along the Ohio River in areas of modern-day Southern Ohio, Northern Kentucky, Southeastern Indiana and Western West Virginia. They were a maize based agricultural...

  • Kofun period
    Kofun period
    The is an era in the history of Japan from around 250 to 538. It follows the Yayoi period. The word kofun is Japanese for the type of burial mounds dating from this era. The Kofun and the subsequent Asuka periods are sometimes referred to collectively as the Yamato period...

  • Kurgan hypothesis
    Kurgan hypothesis
    The Kurgan hypothesis is one of the proposals about early Indo-European origins, which postulates that the people of an archaeological "Kurgan culture" in the Pontic steppe were the most likely speakers of the Proto-Indo-European language...

  • Neolithic Europe
    Neolithic Europe
    Neolithic Europe refers to a prehistoric period in which Neolithic technology was present in Europe. This corresponds roughly to a time between 7000 BC and c. 1700 BC...

  • Petroform
    Petroform
    Petroforms, also known as boulder outlines or boulder mosaics, are human-made shapes and patterns made by lining up large rocks on the open ground, often on quite level areas. Petroforms in North America were originally made by Indigenous Peoples, who used various terms to describe them...

  • Olmec
    Olmec
    The Olmec were the first major Pre-Columbian civilization in Mexico. They lived in the tropical lowlands of south-central Mexico, in the modern-day states of Veracruz and Tabasco....

    • La Venta
      La Venta
      La Venta is a pre-Columbian archaeological site of the Olmec civilization located in the present-day Mexican state of Tabasco. Some of the artifacts have been moved to the museum "Parque - Museo de La Venta", which is in Villahermosa, the capital of Tabasco....

    • San Jose Mogote
      San Jose Mogote
      San José Mogote is a pre-Columbian archaeological site of the Zapotec, a Mesoamerican culture that flourished in the region of what is now the Mexican state of Oaxaca. A forerunner to the better-known Zapotec site of Monte Albán, San José Mogote was the largest and most important settlement in the...

  • Prehistoric Britain
    Prehistoric Britain
    For the purposes of this article, Prehistoric Britain is that period of time between the first arrival of humans on the land mass now known as Great Britain and the start of recorded British history...

The source of this article is wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.  The text of this article is licensed under the GFDL.
 
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