I stopped to camp at Kolomoki Mounds State Historic Park, where an ancient community once thrived. The height of it’s development was between 350-750 AD, and it’s population may have been the largest north of what is now Mexico.
Kolomoki stands near a tributary of the Chatahoochee River, and contains eight still visible mounds that were used for ceremonies and burials.
Mound A, which is also known as “Temple Mound” is the largest. It stands 56′ tall, and measured 325′ by 200′ at its base. It is believed that the mound was built by hauling basket loads of dirt and clay. It would have taken over two million basket-loads of earth to build the mound.
There have been several excavations of the mounds of Kolomoki. The Smithsonian Institution, conducted excavations between 1894 and 1897, and the best known were done by archaeologist William Sears from 1948 until 1953.
Mound D stands 20 feet high and lies out in what was “The Plaza”. This was a burial mound, and archaeologists have found the remains of 77 burials. With each burial, the mound would grow in size.
Mound G, or the Mercier Family Mound, is not a part of the park. The Mercier family owned a plantation that contained this land, and their family graveyard is atop this small mound. It has never been excavated, and it is not know if it was a mound from Kolomoki or just a rise in the Earth.
The visitor center and its museum was built in the space that was excavated from Mound E. This was also a burial mound, which was the resting place for four people. Radiocarbon dating places this mound around 170 BC.
A small theater overlooks the excavated work under the roof of the museum. A visit to the museum is worth the $5 fee. In 1974, the museum was broken into, and all of it’s artifacts were stolen. Over the years, many have been recovered mostly from Florida, but some 70 pieces remain lost, and are thought to be in the hands of private collectors.