Pinson Mounds State Archaeological Park preserves the site of the largest the largest Middle Woodland Moundbuilder site in the country and the second largest prehistoric mound in North America. The ceremonial site includes a mound complex of more than 400 acres with unique earthworks dating to about 1-500 A.D.
The Moundbuilders lived long before Native American tribes. The largest mounds were for ceremonies, while smaller mounds, as well as the Twin Mounds were for burials. A number of cremation and activity areas are nearby. The site was once called Sauls Mound, after the family that owned most of the land. Surveyors working on Chickasaw Treaty land claims rediscovered the site and it was renamed for surveyor Joel Pinson.
In the 1880s, J. G. Cisco, a Jackson newspaper editor, developed an interest in the site and began writing about it. William E. Myer, a Nashville archaeologist working with the Smithsonian Institution, worked from 1916 to 1922 surveying and mapping Pinson Mounds. A copy of his map is in the museum.
In the 1950s, local citizens began campaigning to have the state to purchase the land to preserve it as a park and have the area named a National Historic Landmark. Work is ongoing to have the park classified as a World Heritage Site. The area hosts a museum/interpretive center that helps visitors to learn more about the Woodland Mound Builders through exhibits and a variety of programs designed by the programming staff to help visitors have a better understanding of Tennessee’s prehistoric peoples, their cultures and lifeways. Activities and programs cover the sites rich cultural, archaeological, historical, and natural resources.
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