Who Were the Mound Builders? Part 2Mound Builders were Inidans who built large mounds, or hills, or earth. There were two types of mounds, flat-topped and conical. Flat-topped mounds were flat on the top. These mounds were used as the base for temples or chief's homes. Conical mounds were rounded on the top like a steep hill. These mounds are believed to be where the Mound Builders buried important people.
These mounds were built entirely by workers who carried loads of earth on their backs. They had no horses or oxen or other forms of transportation to use for help. Many of these mounds have several hundred tons of dirt, stone, and other materials.
The Mound Builders were like the Pueblo Indians. Mound Builders was not their name, just a name given to them because of the types of homes or type of community they lived in. The culture of the Mississippian Mound Builders is found in Cahokia, Illinois, which is very close to where we live.
The largest of the Mississippian Mounds was found in Cahokia, Illinois. It had about 40,000 people. Cahokia had over 100 mounds. Some were conical to bury their dead. Some were platform mounds for homes of the chiefs.
Religious ceremonies were held at the temples at the tops of the mounds. Some families had small mounds where they buried their dead. "Grave goods" would be buried with them. These were things such as pottery, baskets, and carvings.
They practiced a religion called the "Southern Cult". Drawings show pictures of spiders and woodpeckers, which the Indians believed had special powers. These Indians are believed to have sacrificed humans as part of their religion. Some of the Mound Builders had a leader known as the "Great Sun". He would be worshipped as a god. He would live on top of the highest mound, and his wife would live on top of the next highest. The Indians believed that living that high brought them closer to the heavens. If the "Great Sun" died, his wife was strangled and buried with him. Others would be killed also to go along with him into the world of death.
The Mound Builders were farmers. They planted corn, squash, beans, and other seed plants. They also hunted for nuts, berries, and small animals. The Mississippian Mound Builders are believed to have died from diseases brought to this country by the white man.