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The Mound-Builders

Henry Clyde Shetrone - 1930

2010 Reprint Edition


The classic work on the Mound-Builders of the United States by Henry Clyde Shetrone.  This work examines earthworks and mounds from North Dakota to Florida and Kansas to the East Coast.  The table of contents and list of illustrations (below) give an insight into the scope of this legendary publication.

Our reprint features the full color Mound-Builder plate as well as the full size color foldout map of mound and earthwork distribution of the Eastern United States.

The Mound-Builder

This life-size figure, executed for the Ohio State Museum, is the first known attempt to portray scientifically the builders of the ancient mounds as they appeared in life. The sculptor, Erwin F. Frey, effected the restoration by using an actual skeleton from a Hopewell-culture mound of Ohio and employing the scheme of anatomical measurements evolved by Dr. J. H. McGregor of Columbia University. The facial features, as the nose and lips, not being determinable by such methods, were posed by a full-blood Indian of the Pawnee nation.
Ornaments, implements, and wearing apparel for the most part are replicas of actual specimens found with mound burials, as copper ear ornaments and bracelets, necklace of fresh-water pearls and bear teeth, copper axe, pottery vessel, and flint implements. The wearing of feathers in the hair and of moccasin-like sandals is suggested by vestiges of each found in place with skeletons. The loin cloth is reproduced from actual woven fabric with colored designs accompanying mound burials.
The figure, intended to represent "The Prehistoric Sculptor," is shown in the act of fashioning with a flint implement a human-effigy tobacco-pipe, of stone, itself a replica of an actual mound specimen.



Distribution of mounds and earthworks in the eastern United States Red dots indicate relative occurrence and comparative distribution rather than individual major remains. (click image for enlarged view).


This 6-1/2" x 8-1/2", 530 page, soft cover, facsimile reprint is illustrated with 299 illustrations, full color mound-builder plate and earthwork distribution foldout map.  $27.95



Books referenced in this publication offered as Gustav's Library reprints

Aborigines of Minnesota - Winchell
Ancient Aztalan - Barrett
Ancient Life in Kentucky - Webb and Funkhouser
Ancient Monuments of the Mississippi Valley - Squier and Davis
Antiquities of Central and Southeastern Missouri - Fowke
Antiquities of Tennessee - Thruston
Archaeological Survey of Indiana - Various
Archaeology of Mississippi - Brown
Archeological Explorations,Cave Explorations MO, IN, IL, KY, TN, AL, NE - Fowke
Archeological History of New York - Parker
Certain Mounds and Village Sites in Ohio - Mills
Fort Ancient - Moorehead
Indian Trails of the Southeast - Myer
Indian Village Site and Cemetery near Madisonville, Ohio - Willoughby and Hooton
Prehistoric Ethnology of a Kentucky Site - Smith
Prehistoric Men of Kentucky - Young
Primitive Man in Michigan - Hinsdale
Stone Age in North America. Moorehead
Turner Group of Earthworks - Willoughby

William C. Mills Marietta Group of Earthworks, Ohio Stone Wall Flint Ridge,  Ohio Cross Section Seip Mound, Ohio
Ceremonial Blades Obsidian and Flint Stone Image Etowah Mound Copper Plate, Union County, Illinois Effigy pottery, Arkansas
Clay image from Tennessee Pottery and Copper symbols from Moundville, Alabama Effigy Pottery, Louisiana Wooden objects Key Marco, Florida

Table of Contents


Speculations of the pioneers—Early literature—Thomas Jefferson, pioneer archaeologist—William Henry Harrison and Caleb Atwater—The classical contribution of Squier and Davis—Activities of the Bureau of American Ethnology—Recent contributors

Diffusion of the mound-building trait—The general mound area of the United States—Cultural divisions of the general mound area—Varieties and purposes of mounds: burial, effigy, and domiciliary— Earthworks and enclosures: defensive, ceremonial, and anomalous


Primitive architecture of native American tribes—Structural achievements of the Mound-builders—Magnitude of mound-building operations—Construction and purpose of the mounds—Use of stone in mound construction—Stone burial vaults and stone graves—Timber structures—Primitive engineering in the mound area—Geometric earthworks and their construction


The mound-building peoples as agriculturists—Corn, beans, squash, and other food plants—Tobacco and its cultivation—Agricultural implements and methods—Prehistoric com fields and garden beds— Commercial activities: trade, barter, and exchange—Character and extent of Mound-builder commerce—Primitive industry of the mound area—The quarrying of flint and other materials—The mining of copper, iron ore, and other minerals—The quest for fresh-water pearls —Minor raw materials—The art of flint-chipping—Use of copper and other metals—Utilization of stone, bone, shell and wood—Pottery and pottery-making—The textile arts: spinning and weaving


The concept of a hereafter—Modes of disposing of the dead—Burial in ordinary graves and cemeteries—Mound interment and its accompanying rites—The practice of cremation—Sacrifices to the dead and to deities—Human interest recorded in burials—Human skulls as burial trophies


The significance of native American art—Distinctive phases of Mound-builder art—Personal adornment and decoration—Pearls and pearl necklaces—Art as a measure of culture status—Depiction of the human face and figure—Sculpture of bird and animal forms—Realistic, symbolic, and conventional designs—Engraving on bone—Cer-ramic art—Pottery of Lower Mississippi area—Ceremonial and problematical artifacts


Primitive smoking a ceremonial procedure—Smoking customs of the American Indians—Calumets and the calumet ceremony—The Mound-builder smoking complex—Distribution and types of tobacco pipes— Pipes as votive and sacrificial offerings


The various cultures of the Ohio area—The Adena culture and its characteristics^—The Fort Ancient culture—Habitation sites of the Fort Ancient culture—The Feurt mounds and village site—Reconstruction of the life of a Fort Ancient village—Primitive industries—Cultivated and uncultivated food products—Recreation and amusement—A burial mound in the making—Primitive methods of sanitation


Extent of the Hopewell culture—Geometric earthworks of the culture— Characteristics of the Hopewell mounds—The Tremper Mound— The Hopewell Group—The Mound City Group—The Edwin Harness Group—The Seip Group—The Turner Group


The great Fort Ancient—Other important fortifications—The Great Serpent Mound—Other effigy mounds


Western Pennsylvania—Northwestern West Virginia—Northeastern Kentucky—Eastern Indiana


The Circleville works—Chillicothe, the heart of the Mound-builder country—The Portsmouth works—The Marietta works—The Newark works—The Miami valleys—The Cincinnati works—The Miamisburg and Enon mounds


Extent and characteristics of the area—The State of New York—Northern Ohio—The State of Michigan—The Province of Ontario


Mound-builder cultures of Wisconsin—The effigy-mound culture—The Grand River culture—The Cahokia culture at Aztalan—The Hopewell culture in Wisconsin—Minor remains in Wisconsin—Wisconsin archaeology—The State of Minnesota—The State of North Dakota—The State of South Dakota


Illinois archaeology—Mound-builder culture of Illinois—The effigy-mound culture in Illinois—The Hopewell culture in Illinois—The Illinois or "bluff" culture—The Mississippi River mounds of Illinois—Western Indiana—Mound-builder culture of Iowa—The Hopewell culture in Iowa—The effigy-mound culture in Iowa—The Oneota culture— The Mill Creek culture—The Algonquian culture in Iowa—Iowa archaeology—Missouri, Kansas, and Nebraska


General characteristics of the Lower Mississippi area—The Cahokia culture in Illinois—Western Kentucky and Tennessee—The stone-vault culture of Southern Missouri—Artifacts of the Southern Missouri region—"Garden Mounds"—Mound distribution in Arkansas—Explorations in Arkansas of Clarence B. Moore


The State of Louisiana—The State of Mississippi—The Moundville culture of Alabama—Other sites in Alabama


Extent and characteristics of the area—Southwestern Indiana and southeastern Illinois—The State of Kentucky—The State of Tennessee— Northern Georgia—The Etowah culture—Virginia and the Carolinas


The Archaeology of Florida—Explorations of Clarence B. Moore—The northwest coast of Florida—The west coast of Florida—Mounds of northeastern Florida—The key-dweller culture of southwestern Florida —Coastal mounds of Georgia—Ancient shell mounds and shell heaps


Identity of the Mound-builders—Were the Mound-builders Indians?— Indians as builders of mounds—What became of the Mound-builders —The native American race—Dispersal and migrations on the American continent—Conclusion



The Mound-builder............Frontispiece
1. The Marietta Group of prehistoric earthworks
2. Map of the Marietta works by General Rufus Putnam, 1788
3. Page one of "references" accompanying the Rufus Putnam map of the Marietta works, 1788
4. Page two of "references" accompanying the Rufus Putnam map of the Marietta works
5. Map of Miami Fort
6. An early illustration of the ancient burial mounds
7. The late Dr. William C. Mills
8. Map of mound distribution in the general mound area
9. A typical conical mound
10. A typical effigy mound group
11. A typical fortification erected for purposes of defense
12. A geometric earthwork
13. The most common type of Mound-builder construction
14. Stone wall of a prehistoric fortification
15. Stone wall of a burial room
16. A typical stone grave
17. Imprints of logs forming a timbered structure in a Wisconsin mound
18. Prehistoric wattle-work
19. A prehistoric experiment in structural engineering
20. The "Fairground Circle" of the Newark works
21. A storage refuse pit
22. Mound-builder corn
23. Hoes made from mussel shells
24. Stone mortar
25. A prehistoric cornfield on the campus of Carroll College, Waukesha, Wisconsin
26. Prehistoric garden beds near Oshkosh, Wisconsin
27. A prehistoric flint quarry, Flint Ridge, Licking County, Ohio
28. The penetration of a flint arrowpoint
29. The manufacture of flint arrowpoints
30. Obsidian flake and arrowpoint made from it
31. Copper axe and hatchet
32. Chisels made from meteoric iron
33. The manufacture of a stone tobacco pipe
34. A Mound-builder pottery vessel
35. Textile fabrics from the Hopewell Group
36. Woven fabric from the Seip Mound
37. A cremated and an uncremated burial side by side
38. A reburial or bundle burial
39. A group burial
40. A dry cave burial
41. An uncommon form of skeleton burial
42. A flexed skeleton burial
43. A stone cairn over a burial
44. Floor plan of the Kiefer Mound, Miami County, Ohio
45. A log tomb burial
46. Urn burial
47. A typical crematory basin
48. A typical cremated burial of the Hopewell culture
49. A crematory basin and a group of five cremated burials
50. Ceremonial offering of flint disks
51. Marbles an ancient game
52. Human jaws as burial trophies
53. Woven fabric in colored designs
54. Strands of pearls from mound burials
55. Pendants made from bear teeth
56. Spool-shaped copper ear ornaments
57. Ear rings of chlorite
58. Copper finger rings
59. A copper breastplate
60. Curved headdress of copper
61. An elaborate headdress
62. Designs cut from mica
63. Necklace of fresh-water pearls
64. Restorations of terra-cotta figurines from the Turner Group,Hamilton County, Ohio
65. Two of the terra-cotta figurines from the Turner Group
66. Sculpture of a human head
67. Sculpture of a human figure
68. A sculptured sacred image
69. Pipes that are works of art
70. Mound art in sheet copper
71. The development of conventional designs
72. Double-headed eagle design in copper
73. Repousse designs of human figures in copper
74. Copper plate bearing dancing figures
75. Mound-builder art in shell
76. An engraved stone disk
77. Engravings on human bone
78. Varied examples of mound art
79. A typical ceremonial vessel of the Hopewell culture
80. Designs occurring on potteryware of the upper and lower portions of the Lower Mississippi
81. Typical pottery forms and decorations from southern Alabama mounds
82. Scroll and circle design on potteryware
83. Bird and serpent design on potteryware
84. Earthenware bottle with sun pattern and swastika in pigment
85. Pottery vessel in effigy of the human head
86. Color ware of vase or bottle form
87. Ceremonial blades of obsidian and quartz
88. Ceremonial axes of copper
89. Conical and elbow types of pipes
90. An unusual type of pipe
91. An animal effigy pipe
92. Bird effigy pipe
93. Human and bird effigy pipes
94. An unusual effigy pipe
95. A typical platform pipe
96. Bird effigy pipe
97. Squirrel effigy pipe
98. A votive offering of tobacco pipes
99. Archaeological map of Ohio
100. The Miamisburg Mound
101. Excavation of one of the Feurt mounds, Scioto County, Ohio
102. Circular fireplace of puddled clay
103. Stone celts or hatchet blades
104. Stone hand hammer
105. "Discoidals" or game stones
106. Flint arrowpoints
107. Flint knife blades
108. Stone tobacco pipes
109. A typical pottery vessel
110. Bone awls
111. Bone needle and bodkin
112. A double burial, Feurt village site
113. Map of the high bank works, Ross County, Ohio
114. A circular enclosure of the Hopewell culture
115. A typical Hopewell burial
116. An individual load of earth
117. Map of the Tremper Mound and earthwork, Scioto County, Ohio
118. Model of the Tremper Mound
119. Exploring the Tremper Mound
120. Map of the Hopewell Group of earthworks, Ross County, Ohio
121. The antlered king
122. A stone grave burial of the Hopewell Group
123. A Hopewell burial accompanied by a trophy skull
124. A double burial of the Hopewell Group
125. The grave of a master artisan
126. Ceremonial blades of obsidian from the Hopewell Group
127. A novelty in noses
128. A design in mica from a Hopewell burial
129. A Hopewell crematory basin with cremated burial
130. Map of the Mound City Group, Ross County, Ohio
131. The center of the Mound City Group
132. Cross-section of a small Mound City tumulus
133. The mica covering of a pretentious burial
134. A mica-lined grave
135. Panorama of Mound City park
136. The central mound of the Seip Group, Ross County, Ohio
137. Cross-section of the central Seip Mound
138. Multiple burial in the Seip Mound
139. A stone grave cremated burial in the Seip Mound
140. Ceremonial axe of copper from the Seip Mound
141. Map of Fort Ancient
142. Fort Ancient in winter
143. View from Fort Ancient
144. Map of Fort Hill, Highland County, Ohio
145. Map of Spruce Hill Fort, Ross County, Ohio
146. Map of the Great Serpent Mound
147. Panorama of the Great Serpent Mound
148. Serpent Mound Park
149. Map of the "Alligator" or "Opossum" Mound, Licking County, Ohio
150. Rock pictures near Barnesville, Ohio
151. Petroglyphs representing a bear
152. Floor plan of a mound with stone graves near Monongahela City, Pennsylvania
153. Archaeological sites in Eastern and Central Pennsylvania
154. A stone mound near Homestead, Pennsylvania
155. Map of the Charleston Group, Kanawha County, West Virginia
156. The Grave Creek Mound
157. Map of the Kentucky portion of the Portsmouth works
158. A burial mound in a circular enclosure
159. The Whitehead Mound
160. A burial in the Whitehead Mound
161. Ancient works near Winchester, Indiana
162. Enclosure and Mound on White River,near Winchester, Indiana
163. An early map of Circleville
164. Map of the Cedar Bank works, Ross County, Ohio
165. Map of the Hopeton works
166. Map of twelve miles of the Scioto Valley adjacent to Chillicothe, showing frequency of
      ancient works
167. Map of six miles of the Paint Creek Valley, near Chillicothe, showing ancient works
168. Map of the Seip Group
169. Map of the Harness Group
170. Map of the Portsmouth works
171. Marietta mound and cemetery
172. Map of the Newark works
173. The Flint Ridge district
174. Archaeological map of New York State, showing location of mounds
175. Iroquois bone and antler objects
176. Typical clay pipes from New York
177. A typical Iroquois pottery vessel
178. Ancient fort in Madison County, New York
179. A prehistoric earthen enclosure in Wyoming County, New York
180. Maps of typical minor earthwork enclosures of northern Ohio
181. Map of enclosures and mounds near Norwalk, Huron County,Ohio
182. Map of the distribution of archaeological sites in Michigan
183. Pottery vessels showing Hopewell influence, from mounds near Grand Rapids, Michigan
184. Mounds and earthwork on Clinton River, MaComb County, Michigan
185. Pattern of prehistoric garden beds near Kalamazoo, Michigan
186. Map of mound distribution in southern and western Ontario
187. Map of Mound-builder culture areas in Wisconsin
188. Various types of Wisconsin mound
189. Typical Wisconsin mound groups
190. Bundle burials in a mound of the Kratz Creek Group, Wisconsin
191. Wisconsin bird effigy mounds
192. Wisconsin "turtle" mounds
193. Wisconsin animal effigy mounds
194. Rare "man" and intaglio forms of effigy mounds
195. A Grand River culture burial
196. Map of the Aztalan ruins, Jefferson county, Wisconsin
197. An Aztalan burial
198. A mound of the Nicholls Group, Wisconsin
199. Uncovering a Hopewell burial in the Nicholls Mound
200. Map of a group of mounds and earthworks in Pipestone County, Minnesota
201. Map of mound distribution in eastern South Dakota
202. Burial in a mound in Yankton County, South Dakota
203. Boulder effigy of turtle, Hughes County, South Dakota
204. The Hartford Beach Mound, Roberts County, South Dakota
205. The Ogden Mound, near Lewiston, Illinois
206. Section of the wall of a burial chamber in the Ogden Mound
207. Burial in the Ogden Mound
208. Burial and portion of a crematory basin disclosed in the Ogden Mound
209. Group of burials in the Dickson Mound, Lewiston, Illinois
210. Map of the Welch Group, Brown County, Illinois
211. Mound group near Peru, Iowa
2i2. Map of mounds and earthworks near New Albin, Iowa
213. Mound of Fish Farm Group near Lansing, Iowa
214. Linear mound of Yellow River Group, Allamakee County, Iowa
215. Map of the heart of the Cahokia Group, showing monks' mound at center
216. Monks' Mound, looking west
217. Some lesser mounds of the Cahokia Group
218. Uncovering the base of the James Ramey Mound of the Cahokia Group
219. Artifacts from the Cahokia Group
220. Wall and doorway in a stone-vault burial mound
221. Effigy and painted pottery from southern Missouri
222. Elaborately carved shell gorget from southern Missouri
223. Mound in Green County, Arkansas, riven by the earthquake of 1911
224. Pottery vessel in effigy of the human head from Pecan Point, Arkansas
225. Pottery vessel with death symbols from Pecan Point, Arkansas
226. Conventional incised decorations on pottery ware from Pecan Point, Arkansas
227. Pottery vessel in human effigy form, from Rhodes Place, Arkansas
228. Pottery vessel with multiple handles from Crittenden County, Arkansas
229. Teapot form of pottery vessel from Old River Landing, Arkansas County, Arkansas
230. Polychrome water bottle from the Menard Mound, Arkansas County, Arkansas
231. Pottery water bottles with incised decorations from Glendora Plantation, Louisiana
232. Colored water bottle from Keno Place, Arkansas
233. Effigy pottery vessel with incised decoration from Glendora Plantation, Louisiana
234. Human effigy pipe of burned clay, from Gahagan, Louisiana
235. Map of the Troyville mounds and enclosure, Catahoula Parish, Louisiana
236. Mounds of the Troyville Group, Catahoula Parish, Louisiana
237. Map of the Anna or Robson mounds, near Natchez, Mississippi
238. Skull showing artificial frontal flattening
239. The Avondale Group of mounds, Washington County, Mississippi
240. Map of a prehistoric earthwork on Sunflower River, Sharkey County, Mississippi
241. Incised decorations of the human head, hands, and long bones on a pottery vessel found
       at Walls, Mississippi
242. Earthenware bottle or vase with incised designs representing the human skull and hands,
       from a mound in Central Mississippi
243. Mound at Kulumi, Montgomery County, Alabama
244. Map of the Moundville Group, near Moundville, Alabama
245. Sun pattern designs of a pottery vessel from Moundville, Alabama
246. Doubled composite bird design from Moundville, Alabama
247. Skull, hand, and arm-bone design from Moundville, Alabama
248. Skull, hand, and eye design from Moundville, Alabama
249. Conventionalized hand design from a pottery vessel from Moundville, Alabama
250. Ceremonial engraved copper object from Moundville, Alabama
251. Engraved stone disk found near Carthage, Alabama
252. Limestone effigy Taowl found at Moundville, Alabama
253. Effigy bowl' carved from diorite found at Moundville, Alabama
254. Ceremonial copper axe, Moundville, Alabama
255. Eagle effigy pipe found at Moundville, Alabama
256. Mound on Tallapoosa River, at Pakana, Montgomery County, Alabama
257. Pottery bowl from Montgomery County, Alabama
258. Human effigy pipe from a mound near Carney's Bluff, Alabama
259. Burial urn containing skeletons of infants
260. Map of a typical Kentucky earthwork
261. Burial in the Albee Mound, Sullivan County, Indiana
262. Map of the Angel mounds and earthworks, near Evansville, Indiana
263. Post holes outlining a house jui a domiciliary mound near Trenton, Christian County,
264. Exploring a shell mound in Green River, Ohio County, Kentucky
265. A prehistoric cliff dwelling in Kentucky
266. Earthenware water bottle found near Louisville, Kentucky
267. Mound with moat and embankment near Lexington, Kentucky
268. Burial casket of potteryware from Hale's Point, Tennessee
269. Image of burned clay, from a stone grave near Nashville, Tennessee
270. Lebanon Group, near Lebanon, Tennessee
271. Map of the De Graffenreid works, Williamson County, Tennessee
272. Map of earthwork and mounds near Old Town, Williamson County, Tennessee
273. Map of Stone Fort, near Manchester, Tennessee
274. Potteryware decorated in colors, near Nashville, Tennessee
275. Pottery vessels from mounds and stone graves in Central Tennessee
276. Decorated pottery vase found near Franklin, Tennessee
277. Engraved shell gorget from a mound on the Cumberland River opposite Nashville,
278. Map of the Etowah Group near Cartersville, Georgia
279. Stone human effigy tobacco pipe from the Etowah Group
280. The Moorhead exploration party at work in the Etowah Group
281. Ceremonial flint swords from the Etowah Group
282. Pottery vessel decorated in colors, from the Etowah Group
283. Monolithic stone axe from the Etowah Group
284. Georgia urn burials
285. The T. F. Nelson Mound, Caldwell County, North Carolina
286. Modification of urn burial, from Point Washington, Florida
287. Florida pottery vessels with multiple bowls and mouths
288. Unusual pottery vessel with human effigy attached, from a mound in Calhoun County,
289. Funerary vessel with perforations indicating ceremonial "killing" ready made
290. Plummet-shaped ceremonial objects, from a mound near Crystal River, Florida
291. Copper disk with symbolic excised design suggesting Hopewell influence, from a mound
       near Crystal River, Florida
292. Miniature effigy potteryware from the Thursby mound, Volusia County, Florida
293. Sand mound near Sharpes, Florida
294. Wooden figure-heads or masks from Key Marco, Florida
295. Wooden objects from Key Marco, Florida
296. Wooden objects with artistic designs from Key Marco, Florida
297. Mortuary vessel with skeleton of a child, from a mound on St. Catherine's Island, Georgia
298. Shell mound near Port Orange, Volusia County, Florida
299. A burial mound of modern origin