Friday, August 14, 2009

Kolomoki Mounds State Park - Blakely, Georgia

One of the most remarkable sights in the South is the first view of the massive Temple Mound (or Mound A) at Kolomoki Mounds State Park near Blakely, Georgia.

The huge mound rises nearly 60 feet into the air and still retains the distinct pyramidal shape created by its builders. It was once the center of what some researchers believe was the largest Native American civilization north of the Aztec culture in Mexico.

Kolomoki Mounds was the centerpiece of a major culture that grew and thrived in Southwest Georgia from around 350 A.D. to around 600 A.D. It was a culture that achieved stunning advancements in art, architecture and astronomy, but also one that practiced human sacrifice.

The well-preserved mounds at Kolomoki form a giant prehistoric observatory and calender. On the longest day of the year, for example, the sun rises from directly behind the giant Temple Mound. Other mounds appear to be aligned with various constellations.

Archaeologists believe that the culture that was centered at this ancient capital spread out into both Alabama and North Florida. Smaller mound and village sites of the same era dot the region and it is believed that these supported the large capital city with food and other necessities of life.

The site today is the centerpiece of a beautiful state park that also features nature trails, two lakes, picnicking, camping and more. The park museum encloses part of one of the burial mounds and visitors can follow wooden walkways that lead into the heart of the mound for a chance to learn about an ancient burial ceremony. Stairs lead to the top of the main Temple Mound and the other mounds can be explored as well.

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