Town Creek Mounds

Mt. Gilead Travel Blog

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Temple mound.

Town Creek Mound is located in Montgomery County, NC. Five miles east of Mt. Gilead on North Carolina Highway 731. The street address is 509 Town Creek Mound Rd, Mt. Gilead, NC 27306. The site phone number is 910-439-6802. The site hours are Tuesday-Saturday 9 a.m.-5 p.m., Sunday 1-5 p.m.

The site occupies a low bluff overlooking the confluence of Town Creek and Little River. The area of these mounds were inhabited for several thousand years, the most significant occupation was from 1400 AD to 1500 AD. During this time period the site was a ceremonial center of the Pee Dee culture. Archaeologist think that these peoples were Muskogean-speakers who migrated from the north into the Pee Dee River valley of North and South Carolina. Archaeological evidence of structure include the stockade wall, "priest house" and mortuary house.

Outside the stockade looking at Temple mound.
There is a large platform mound with a conical temple on top. Several smaller sites have been found nearby. It is believed that the people of the outlying hamlets came to Town Creek Mound only for important religious, political and social occasions.

Since about 450 AD some of the native cultures of North Carolina lived an agricultural based life style supplemented with game and fish. Approximately  1,000 years ago a new culture appear in Pee Dee River Valley. This culture has been labeled "Pee Dee", which is thought to be part of a widespread tradition called the "South Appalachian Mississippian." Throughout most of North Carolina (except far northeastern) South Carolina, Georgia and eastern Tennessee this new culture developed a complex societies. These people erected earthen mounds with defensive wooden stockades for spiritual and or political purposes, developed long distance trade, supported and developed specialized crafts, and established a new religion.

Inside the stockade looking at a burial house. This is also the location of the audiovisual presentation.

Excavations began at Town Creek Mound site in the spring of 1937 and continued until the late 1980s. There are limited occurring today. The site was named a state historic site in 1955. Town Creek site is the only state historic site dedicated to Native American Indian heritage.

Excavations at the large mound revealed 3 episodes of construction. The first was a primitive rectangular "earth lodge" with logs embedded into the ground and  soil piled against the logs. It is assumed that logs were laid across these walls forming a roof that was covered with soil. This structure collapsed. Its was covered with more soil creating a low mound that supported a wooden structure that was destroyed by fire. Again soil was added creating the mound you see today.

It is believed that public and or religious activities took place in the large plaza adjacent to the large mound. Several burial or mortuary houses have been documented along the edge of the plaza. It is believed that the burial structures were "clan" burial houses. More work needs to be done to confirm this belief.  The mound, plaza, mortuary, and habitation areas were enclosed by a defensive stockade with 2 guarded tower gates. There is archaeological evidence of five construction episodes for the stockade.

This is a self guides tour site. The visitor has some interpretive exhibits and an audiovisual presentation that attempts to depict the culture that built this site.

This site offers several special events each year. I have included their list of events for 2009. 

February 21 Astronomy Night. Come view the stars at one of the last great dark sky sites in the Piedmont.  Binoculars and telescopes encouraged.  Site telescope will be available. Registration required. Call 910-439-6802 for more information.

March 7 Astronomy Night. View the Planet Saturn at its closest approach to Earth for the year. Binoculars and telescopes encouraged. Site telescope will be available. Registration required. Call 910-439-6802 for more information.

April 18 Astronomy Night. Come view the stars at one of the last great dark sky sites in the Piedmont.  Binoculars and telescopes encouraged.  Site telescope will be available. Registration required. Call 910-439-6802 for more information.

May 2 Astronomy Day. All day event. Come share the joy of astronomy with us. Fun activities, hand-outs, and movies throughout the day. Observe the sun during the day and gaze at the stars later that night. Site telescope will available. Registration required for nighttime event.  Call 910-439-6802 for more information.

July 13-14 Day Camp. Come this summer to learn more about archaeology, the history of the Pee Dee Culture, and have some fun! Workshops will incorporate science, social studies, language arts, mathematics, and visual arts. July 13-ages 9-11, July 14-ages 12-15. Fee charged: $25 per participant, class size is limited. Registration forms available in visitor center.  For more information call 910-439-6802.

September 12 Astronomy Night. View the Planet Uranus at its closest approach to Earth for the year. Binoculars and telescopes encouraged. Site telescope will be available. Registration required. Call 910-439-6802 for more information.

September 17-18 Pow-WOW! Learn about the American Indian culture through singing, dancing, and drumming. Craft and food vendors available. Scheduled groups only. Fee charged: $3. Call 910-439-6802 for more information or to schedule a group.. 10 a.m.-3 p.m.

September 19 Town Creek Heritage Festival. Annual event with “Pow Wow” atmosphere including singing, dancing, drumming, craft and food vendors. Fee charged: $4, adults, $1, 4-12 and three and under free. 12-5p.m.

October 6-9 Eastern Woodlands Program. Participants will witness open hearth cooking, see reproduction tools and clothing and learn what life was like in North Carolina during the Woodland Period (1000 BC-1200 AD). For scheduled groups only. Fee charged: $3--groups must register in advance. Call 910-439-6802 for more information.

October 10 Eastern Woodlands Day. Open to the general public. Visitors will witness open hearth cooking, flint knapping, arrow manufacture, pottery and cordage demonstrations, and hear American Indian stories/legends. Donations welcome.10 a.m.-4 p.m.

October 17 Astronomy Night. Come view the stars at one of the last great dark sky sites in the Piedmont.  Binoculars and telescopes encouraged.  Site telescope will be available. Registration required. Call 910-439-6802 for more information.

November 1 American Indian Heritage Month film program.  “Movies at the Mound Series” presents “Trail of Tears:  Cherokee Legacy.”  This movie recounts America’s darkest period:  Jackson’s Indian Removal Act and the forced removal of the Cherokee Nation to the Indian Territory in 1838.  4-6 p.m.

November 8 American Indian Heritage Month film program.  “Movies at the Mound Series” presents “Our Spirits Don’t Speak English:  Indian Boarding School.”  This movie provides an American Indian perspective on Indian Boarding Schools and U.S. Government policy which took Indian children from their homes, forced them into boarding schools and enacted a policy of educating them in the ways of western society.  4-5:30 p.m.

November 15 American Indian Heritage Month film program.  “Movies at the Mound Series” presents “The Romance of a Vanishing Race.”  This movie includes three historic motion pictures of American Indians and their lifestyle in the early 1900’s.  Featuring Tribal chiefs who participated in the last great Indian council and several who fought at the Battle of the Little Big Horn.  4-5:30 p.m.

November 14 Astronomy Night. Leonid Meteor Shower. Enjoy an exciting pre-show of this annual meteor event. Binoculars and telescopes encouraged.  Site telescope will be available. Registration required. Call 910-439-6802 for more information.

November 22 American Indian Heritage Month film program.  “Movies at the Mound Series” presents “How to Trace Your Native American Heritage” and “Tales of Wonder.”  Native Heritage is an award-winning program that informs how to research American Indian ancestry and search the Dawes Rolls.  2-3 p.m.  Tales showcases American Indian stories for children. 4-5 p.m. 

December 12 Astronomy Night. Geminid Meteor Shower. Bring a chair or blanket and relax as we watch the light show from above. Learn about the constellation Gemini and meteor showers. Registration required. Call 910-439-6802 for more information.

December 19 Christmas for the Birds. Come feed the bird population at Town Creek Indian Mound. Participants will create homemade pine cone bird feeders and help us decorate the trees along the entrance with these festive “ornaments.” Donations welcome.

Flyinhigh says:
This may be aood short trip from South Florida...thanks!
Posted on: Feb 06, 2009
Africancrab says:
Awesome blog!
Posted on: Feb 04, 2009
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Temple mound.
Temple mound.
Outside the stockade looking at Te…
Outside the stockade looking at T…
Inside the stockade looking at a b…
Inside the stockade looking at a …
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