In the realm of in class lectures and my own online research, I’ve noticed a trend surrounding the Moundbuilders; myths. The Moundbuilders, although unknown “creatures,” are known for their work in North America, specifically the upper and lower Midwest, of creating small, flat top mounds. These mounds are most often found in groupings, can be multilevel, and are hallowed out. Within the hallowed out mounds, archaeologists have found that they feature complex architecture with artifacts ranging from stone and bone to copper and mice. Amongst these artifacts they have also found mythical animal-like shapes.
In a study aid presentation, written byThomas S. Garlinghouse, a professor at University of California who has a doctorate in archaeology, addresses the confusing “disappearance” of the Moundbuilderes. He states, “Europeans first came into contact with the mounds as they pushed farther westward across the North American continent, moving beyond the Allegheny Mountains, settling lands that had formerly belonged to native peoples. As Europeans cleared the ground for farming and grazing, they were astonished to uncover a whole host of mounds and geometric earthworks that mystified the settlers. Who had built them? Were they the work of long-vanished civilisations, such as the Ten Lost Tribes of Israel? Or had the ancestors of the Native Americans built them?” Like many others before and after him, Garlinghouse tried to hypothesize who the built the mysterious mounds.
The Moundbuilders interested those, such as Benjamin Franklin, lexicographer Noah Webster, Reverend James Madison (the first Episcopal bishop of Virginia) and Governor Dewitt Clinton of New York. Each had their own hypothesis, but most implied that the work was done by civilized people. Therefore, an earlier consensus that Native Americans were the ones who made the mounds was dismissed. Native Americans are often viewed as “savages,” implying that they could not have made the mounds. Egyptians. Phoenicians, Canaanites, Hebrews, Toltecs, Hindus. Vikings, Celts, and Romans were some of the most common guesses of who these people were.
Instead thinking that a vanished race is behind the building of the mounds, I believe the Native Americans were the Moundbuilders. Although the Europeans described no proof of the Native Americans building the mounds, inhabiting them, or admitting to them, they were the first known people on the land. Since no one else was known to be there between the time the Native Americans established themselves and when the Europeans first arrived, they are the only logical people to be held responsible for the mythical mounds.