I went to this Native American Festival this past week.
October 7 – 10, 2015
Ancient rulers and thousands of their subjects thrived in a city behind huge wooden walls that once surrounded the Moundville site. These prehistoric Native Americans farmed, hunted and fished. Their society recognized nobles by birth and praised the feats of great artists, warriors and holy people. Each year, descendants of this vibrant culture return, celebrating the South’s rich Indian heritage at the Moundville Native American Festival.
Repeatedly named one of Alabama’s Top 20 Tourism Events, the award winning Moundville Native American Festival is always slated for Wednesday through Saturday during the first full week of October. Located at The University of Alabama’s Moundville Archaeological Park, performers, artists, craftspeople and tradition bearers entertain and educate visitors about the rich culture and heritage that makes Southeastern Indians unique.
Portal to the Past
Visit the renovated Jones Archaeological Museum! State-of-the-art exhibits tell a story of the nobility who once lived at Moundville. Stunning artifacts, recreated scenery and a special effects theatre are all part of the new displays. While you’re there, don’t forget to visit Knotted Bird Gifts and The Black Warrior Coffee Company.
Art of the Craft
See pottery being pit fired or learn how Choctaws make rivercane baskets in the festival’s Arts and Crafts Arbors. See fire kindled by friction or talk with a world-class bowman as he carves wooden longbow. Native Americans and other experts demonstrate these and many other arts, crafts and technologies during the entire festival.
Watch experts shoot the bow and arrow or throw a spear 50 yards with the help of a stick. See how a hollow piece of cane can be used to blow a deadly dart at the festival’s Target Range.
Dan Issac of the Mystic Wind Choctaw Dancers "calls," a form of singing traditionally performed by male Southeastern Native Americans.
Dan Issac of the Mystic Wind Choctaw Dancers “calls,” a form of singing traditionally performed by male Southeastern Native Americans.
Kids of all ages get firsthand experience in playing native games and making simple crafts in the Children’s Area. Play the ancient game of stickball, dress up like Southeastern Indians or throw an Indian football. Make a shell bead necklace or try your hand at Indian Twister. There’s fun for the whole family.
Visit the Archaeology in Action station to find out how scientists excavate and discover new things about the ancient Moundville people. Tour guides, stationed at Mound B, one of North America’s tallest earthen mounds, and at other strategic spots around the site reveal what we know about Moundville as well as researcher’s latest findings.
At the Gate:
Adults: $ 12.00
Seniors: $ 10.00
Students: $ 10.00
Children 5 and under: FREE
Prepaid groups with reservations: $ 8.00 per student. One teacher for every 15 students and bus drivers are admitted free with registered group. Accompanying adults pay regular festival admission rate at the gate.
WE’RE IN THE PLANNING STAGES OF OFFERING PREPAID TICKETS AT A DISCOUNT TO OUR PATRONS. CHECK BACK WITH US SOON!
Weekdays 9:00 am to 3:30 pm
Saturday 9:00 am to 5:00 pm
Moundville Archaeological Park is a division of University of Alabama Museums. The park is located 13 miles south of Exit 71A on I-20/59 in Tuscaloosa, Alabama off of State Highway 69.
SM Misty Mounds
The Moundville site, occupied from around A.D. 1000 until A.D. 1450, is a large settlement of Mississippian culture on the Black Warrior River in central Alabama. At the time of Moundville’s heaviest residential population, th
e community took the form of a three hundred-acre village built on a bluff overlooking the river.
The plan of the town was roughly square and protected on three sides by a bastioned wooden palisade. Moundville, in size and complexity second only to the Cahokia site in Illinois, was at once a populous town, as well as a political center and a religious center.
Within the enclosure, surrounding a central plaza, were twenty-six earthen mounds, the larger ones apparently supportinmoundville, summer 2006, sunriseg noble’s residences alternating with small ones that supported buildings used for mortuary and other purposes.
Of the two largest mounds in the group, Mound A occupies the center of the great plaza, and Mound B lies just to the north on the site’s central axis. The latter is a steep pyramid with two ramps, rising to a height of fifty-eight feet. The
arrangement of the mounds and plaza gives the impression of symmetry and planning. In addition, archaeologists have found evidence of borrow pits, other public buildings, and dozens of small houses constructed of paerial view temple mound with river correctole and thatch, many of which have yielded burials beneath the floors.
erences between the nobles and commoners showing a highly stratified society can be seen among the excavated burials with their grave goods. Some include rare artifacts that may be associated with particular political or religious offices. Evidence shows that Moundville was sustained by tribute of food and labor provided by the people who l
ived in the nearby Black Warrior Valley floodplain Copy of IMG_1082farmsteads as well as other smaller mound centers. At its height the Moundville community contained a population of about one
thousand with around ten thousand in the entire valley. Like other Mississippian societies, Moundville’s growth and prosperity were made possible by intensive cultivation of maize, or Indian corn. The nobility dominated a traffic in such imported luxury goo
ds as copper, mica, galena, and marine shell. Renowned particularly for their artistic excellence in pottery, stonework, and embossed copper, the inhabitants of Mound B produced artifacts bearing a high degree of skilled workmanship, making the site a benchmark in the study of Mississippian imagery.
Neither the rise of Moundville nor its eventual decline is well understood by scholars. The immediate area appears to have been thickly populated, containing a few very small single-mound centers just before the creation of the public architecture of the great plaza and erection of the palisade about A.D. 1200. However, by about A.D. 1350, Moundville seems to have undergone a change in use. The site lost the appearance of a town, but retained its ceremonial and political functions. A decline ensued, marked by abandonment of some mounds and the loss of religious importance in others. There was also a decrease in the importation of goods which had given prestige to the nobility. By the 1500s, most of the area was abandoned with only a few portions of the site still occupied. Although the first Europeans reached the Southeast in the 1540s, the precise ethnic and linguistic links between Moundville’s inhabitants and what became the historic Native American tribes are still not well understood. ??Dr. Vernon James Knight, Associate Professor of Anthropology at the University of Alabama, is the Museum’s Curator of Southeastern Archaeology
While hiking the trails and doing of trail adventuring we come across many different and interesting items of nature or mankind. There were people here long before Columbus visited the North American Continent. Evidence of their existence can be found along the many trails that we hike on. This forum will be a place to share your findings.
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