Located along Kolomoki Creek, a tributary of the nearby Chattahoochee River, Kolomoki Mounds is among the largest Woodland Period burial and temple complexes in the Southeast. The site dates to 350-750AD/CE and may have been one of the most populous settlements north of Mexico at the time. Most of the mounds are quite small in contrast to the Temple Mound (seen above), which has a base of 325 by 200 feet and a height of 56 feet. It is believed that the Temple Mound was used for religious ceremonies and there is speculation that the chieftain’s house was located on the west side (seen below) of the mound, which is slightly higher than the east side.
Various tribes made this site home, including Weeden Island, Kolomoki, and Lamar Indians.
This view, from atop the Temple Mound, looks out onto a vast plaza. This was a typical layout for Woodland villages. The plaza would have included various houses of wattle and daub construction, roofed with local grasses. In its time, all of this would have been exposed red clay.
Looking down the steps to the plaza gives some perspective as to the size of the temple mound.
This burial mound, on the plaza, is known simply as Mound D. At 20 feet, it’s one of the largest extant Woodland burial mounds. It was completely excavated in the early 1950s; radiocarbon dating has suggested it was built around 30AD/CE, with a margin of error of 300 years. More information about the site’s smaller mounds and a history of archaeological excavations conducted here over the years can be found at the New Georgia Encyclopedia. Sadly, a theft at the site in 1974 resulted in the loss of numerous pieces of pottery and other artifacts. It’s hoped that an inventory of the stolen items, which are still sought by the park, will eventually lead to some of them being recovered.
There is much to see at Kolomoki Mounds State Park, including abundant wildlife and flora. This Gopher Tortoise (Gopherus polyphemus), covered in red clay, was crossing the main road in the park. They were likely quite abundant here in the Woodland Period.
National Historic Landmark