About 800 years ago, a town occupied the high Tennessee River bluff at the eastern edge of the Shiloh plateau. Archaeologists refer to the society centered at Shiloh as a chiefdom.
On a bluff overlooking the Tennessee River, the site is comprised of six platform mounds surrounded by over three dozen individual house mounds and an encircling palisade. These make up the finest surviving Mississippi Mound Builder village in the Tennessee Valley. This prehistoric culture, which reached the height of its influence around A. D. 1200, is today interpreted at the Tennessee River Museum.
Survey work in the winter of 1933-34 revealed numerous small, round mounds at the Shiloh site, each about one foot high and ten to twenty feet in diameter, the remains of wattle and daub houses. These structures had walls of vertical posts interlaced with branches (wattle), which were then coated with a thick layer of clay (daub). Each house had a fireplace in the center of the floor. A palisade wall, also made of wattle and daub, protected the site.
The early inclusion of the mounds area within the boundary of the national military park has protected the site from any modern use. Because the Shiloh site has never been disturbed by the plow, the daub of collapsed walls still stands as low rings or mounds.
Shiloh is one of the very few places in the eastern United States where remains of prehistoric houses are still visible on the ground’s surface.
For the most up-to-date hours and information, please contact Shiloh Indian Mounds National Historic Landmark directly.