Imagine the amazement of early Colonial explorers when they crossed the Appalachian Mountains and discovered hundreds of conical mounds and geometric earthworks in the upper Ohio River and Kanawha River valleys. Who built these mounds? Why?
The Grave Creek Mound is on a plateau above the Ohio River. Early explorers said that earthen circles, squares, octagons, and walls accompanied the mounds. Mounds and earthworks extended 10-12 miles along the Ohio River in the Grave Creek Mound vicinity. Their construction was an enormous project, and workers carried dirt one bucket at a time to build them. What motivated them to do this? This so called “Mammoth Mound” was located on the Tomlinson farm. In 1838 owner Jesse Tomlinson permitted the mound excavation. His nephew, Abelard Tomlinson, assisted by Abelard’s brother-in-law, Thomas Biggs, was in charge of the excavation. Local residents helped.
The men abandoned digging down from the top of the mound fearful that the shaft would collapse. They probed upward from the lower tomb until they struck stone and guessed it was an upper tomb. This proved to be true when they dug a second tunnel 34 feet above ground level and struck an 18 x 8 foot log tomb filled with rotten wood, stones, earth, one large and badly decayed skeleton, and many artifacts.
Native North American Cultures
Native Americans Nation = Tribe Native American = Indian
Adena pipe shows squat male, with goitered neck, and stylized hair.
Ear spools and a loin cloth feathered in back similar to Aztec cultures
The Adena Moundbuilders
The Adena Moundbuilders: Burials of Adena Elite
tablets incised with symbols
tablets with ancient writing
Adena Moundbuilders: Grave Creek Mound, Moundsville, WV
Grave Creek Mound on Tomlinson farm excavated by local men. A tunnel started four feet above ground struck a lower tomb near the center. It contained two skeletons.
Adena Moundbuilders: Grave Creek Mound Excavation Shaft sunk from top A second tunnel 34 feet above ground reached upper tomb with one skeleton and grave goods including an inscribed tablet Tunnel to lower tomb