December 20th, 2007 – by: geokid
Winterville Mound Center is located on Mississippi Highway 1, approximately 6 miles north of the intersection of Highways 82 and 1 in Greenville, Mississippi. The site is named for the near by community of Winterville, Mississippi. The site is open daily from dawn to dusk. There is no admission fee. This site is thought to be a ceremonial center that appears to have been in use from 1000 - 1450 AD. These mounds are part of the Winterville society's religious system. Based on extensive archaeological excavations, archaeologist believe that the Winterville people lived away from this mound center in farming hamlets through out the Yazoo-Mississippi River delta basin. Only the highest ranking families resided within this ceremonial center. This site originally contained 23 mounds.
The museum is shaped like a mound.
Currently 12 mounds are visible today, including the 55-foot-high Temple Mound remain. Based on the archaeological evidence, scientist think that the Winterville culture may have had a civil structure similar to the more modern Natchez culture, that was observed by French explorers in the early 1700s. The Natchez society was class based, upper and lower ranks, a individuals rank was determined by heredity through the female line. Chiefs and tribal officials inherited power and positions through membership in the royal family. This style of organization would facilitate that organization of the civilian labor force to perform construction projects like the erection of ceremonial mounds, dikes, dam and roads.
There is archaeological evidence of a fire that consumed the original building atop the Temple Mound around 1300 AD. The cause of the fire connot be determined at this time. This site continued to be occupied after the fire, but no new mound building or maintenance continued. At this time the population of the immediate area began to declined while increasing at mound sites 50 miles south, in the lower Yazoo River basin. By 1450 AD this site appears to have been completely abandoned.