Thursday, September 27, 2007

Scott Hocking

Myrtle Mound
Sharpie, Wood, Plastic Security Dome
(Located above you)

Evidence of the ancient Native Americans known as Mound Builders is well documented and preserved throughout the Ohio and Mississippi river valleys. Few know that the Detroit area was once covered with similar earthworks. It has long been debated who these people were, as most mounds predate the tribes first contacted by European settlers, and legends vary. They have been attributed to the Tuteloes, Mississippians, Hopewell, Adena, Woodland Period people, and even ancient Phoenician copper-mining mariners. What is certain is that these mounds were often used as burial and/or ceremonial sites, not unlike ancient pyramids, ziggurats, and monuments found worldwide.

One of the largest local mounds was situated on the eastern bank of the River Rouge, not far from where it empties into the Detroit River. The “Great Mound” was said to have originally been 300 feet wide and 40 feet tall, and packed with bones, pottery, and tools, that were easily exposed by wandering cattle. Like most mounds, it was destroyed to make way for farmland and industry. Nowadays, in its place sit brownfields and blighted Delray streets, a stone’s throw across the Rouge from the blast furnaces of Zug Island.

By 1925, U of M Prof. of Archeology W.B. Hinsdale wrote that the great numbers of mounds were “vanishing rapidly.” Wayne County had only 12 left by then, and he estimated “at least 500 more must have been destroyed within the last 150 years.”

I have been researching this history of Detroit in order to make a present day burial mound of sorts, which will inevitably be leveled just like its predecessors. Where my mound will be built is still up in the air; but, in the meantime, I have been sketching out ideas of what it might have looked like here, when the only ‘intersections’ were Native trails and animal paths.

About Scott:


vdeva said...

Hi Scott,

I was surprised to find you writing about the mounds of Detroit. I have long been interested in the Native American mounds and heard something the other day on a local radio station and just remembered I had wanted to look up the info. San Francisco Bay has lots of mounds and they were primarily shell mounds not burial mounds. Zeb and I went to an ancient mound while traveling in England a few years ago. ....the White Horse in Whilshire. He can tell you about it. Good to have met you, Vicki (Zeb's Mom)

KD said...

Hi Scott,

I have been most interested in learning more about these ancient pre-colombus mounds or tip of pyramids. Can you direct me towards documents, pictures and other resource available. I would like to do some traveling to other sites too! I live in south Carolina and often travel back to Detroit. Also, are there any museums or collections of these artifacts in the US.
Thank you,
Kenneth Savage