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tv   Ocmulgee National Monument  CSPAN  August 21, 2016 9:47am-10:01am EDT

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she sees the orphans she is helping, she sees their eyes. it is a beautiful song but it is still about him. to me, that is how it functions in the musical. >> we have run out of time. so, i want to thank everybody on the panel. [applause] i want to thank the audience. hope we've cast light rather than shutting heat, -- shedding heat, especially today. [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2016] [captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy. visit ncicap.org] interested in american history tv? visit o website. you can see our upcoming schedule or watch a recent program. american artifacts, wrote to the right house rewind, lectures and history and more a c-span.org/ history.
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the centennial of the national park service, american history tv is featuring natural and his stork sites across the country as recorded by c-span's cities tour staff. we continue with a look at the history of the national parks. the national monument was authorized back in 1934 basically to preserve these prehistoric mounds. that's all they thought was here when the park was first authorized. back in the 1930's before the park was even established, while the locals were still working with the legislature trying to get this park authorized and established, the locals also realized that this might be an ideal location for a new deal works project, and so once again, working with the legislature, they managed to get this designated as a wpa work site, and working at the
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smithsonian, they actually sat down two smithsonian archaeologists, and those two men ended up overseeing a work force 800 men. so pretty difficult for two archaeologists to oversee that large of a work force, but they basically ran trenches at various locations on this site, did some trenches on top of the great temple mound, the left temple mound, and they found here that huge continuum. we ended up with over 2.5 million items that this dig found in this location. we discovered it had a time period that goes back to the ice age hunters, and this spot was then used ever since that first arrival of humans here in the southeast. it's a national monument referred to locally as the indian mounds, but the park is so much more than mounds.
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it is once again the whole prehistory of the southeast. the mounds were built by a group that archaeologists called mississippian people. mississippian culture is a very widespread culture. a hub is near st. louis, but a place called cahocia, and that philosophy, that mound building legend or whoever was, it spread throughout the eastern half of the united states. ucmulgee is considered the hub of the mississippi and culture here in the southeast. kind of like, i guess, maybe a subcapital through the main capital there at cahocia. the society, the mississippians existed on this site for over 300 years. now, after that period of time, some reason, they left this site. we have no idea why, what happened, if it was, you know, a change in climate, a change in,
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you know, religious beliefs, or, you know, or what. maybe it might have been warfare, who knows? but this site was abandoned, and then about 100 years later, the park service has a site just about a mile and a half south of here, along the ocmulgee river called lamar. a little different culture, still a mound-building culture. the lamar culture then is the one who desoto came in contact with in 1540. and then, unfortunately, with the rival desoto, that greatly affected the prehistoric peoples. some archaeologists i heard talk as much as 70%, 80% loss of life. after that great loss of life, that according to the muskogee is the remnants of the various groups touched by desoto came together here at ocmulgee and set down together and created a new confederacy of tribes, and
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they're going to call themselves muskogee, and that's now who later on the europeans called the creeks. and so, now they call themselves the muskogee-creek people. so this area once again not only has the huge prehistoric history, but sacred to the tribes and has a very long historical period, also. this site has seven mounds on it, but the one in back of me we refer to as the great temple mound. it's the largest mound we have. it's 55 feet high on the front side. that is where we believe the chief of the society, the tribe, lived. archaeologists did find evidence, three structures up on top of there. and that's where we believe there was a ramp that went up the front of it, and we believe that the chief basically ran the society from on top of there. and then, just down from that, you'll see a smaller mound. that's called the lesser temple mound. there was a structure up on top
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of that, also. and unfortunately, we're not really sure how big that mound was. the railroad in 1830's came through and took off the entire side of that mound. now, height-wise, it may be close to the original height. but as far as width, we have no idea, because the railroad took off a whole side of it, and, of course, they didn't care to photograph it or mention it, so we have no idea how much they removed. also up here, just a way from the great temple mound, another one of our famous mounds is we refer to as the funeral mound. the funeral mound is here. it it was placed for burial, but only apparently of the high-ranking people. the number of burials found in the funeral mound definitely would not account for all the deaths in this size of a society. so it was very evidenced, also some of the artifacts found with the burials, that the funeral mound was reserved for certain
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high-ranking individuals. where the other people were buried, we're not really sure. we're always very careful about any ground disturbing we do here here. i work with the tribes on that, because we never know when there might be a chance that we might while digging a post hole for a sign might hit a burial. so we're very conscious of that, because somewhere around here there probably are literally thousands of burials. we are standing on the top of what we call the great temple mound. we believe this is where the chief lived, there were three structures in evidence up here, and we're guessing a limited -- only certain folks were allowed to come up on top of this mound for, you know, meetings with the chief, or various religious meetings or activities. so not everybody was probably allowed to come up here. so this society probably covered 20 or more miles up and down the river.
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so they would have controlled a very large area. the main reason we feel this area has been used for the millenia that it has been is because it is right -- it's evidence of two ecological areas combined. the edge was called the fall line, which is the area between the coastal plain and the piedmont plateau. this mound is literally on the edge of the fall line. the piedmont plateau drops off at the base of the mound, and from here on out becomes the coastal plain. with these two meeting areas, you have both the plants and the animals from that -- those ecosystems, all -- both here. you had a great variety of animals to choose from, plants to eat from, and, of course, the river was right there with all of its foodstuffs and transportation.
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so you really had the ideal place for these people to be over all these thousands of years, because of that meeting of the two ecosystems right in in location. we are inside our earth lodge, and we're looking at -- the original 1,000-year-old earth lodge floor. this is a very interesting structure. there will 50 seats in this room. from the entrance at the door, it comes around in the circle, each seat is slightly higher and wider than the preceding seat. and 47 seats come up, and then on this bird-shaped effigy are the three main seats. the measurements they used to build this are extremely accurate. it is within an inch -- a few inches of being a perfect circle. it's -- the four pillars that held up the ceiling are also
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within a few inches of being a perfect square. the fire pit is directly in the direct center of the structure, so they indeed did have ways of making some very, very accurate measurements in building these structures. the only archaeological items that were found was a conk shell which we assume was used for scooping, and a pot. so what else initially may have been in here, who knows? it ended up being burned. we have no idea if it was a ceremonial cleansing or a closing or if indeed it may have been an accident, a fire got away. but ended up fire was in here. the ceiling and everything collapsed.
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and then that ended up preserving the floor. i guess the roof and the soil and so forth came down and preserved the site as we see it. we think it's very important to interpret this tour for visitors so that they cannot only understand this great prehistory -- and that, indeed, well before, you know -- decades, l before columbus and the europeans, they had well established, very successful societies here on north american continent. so it was not an empty place. it's important to show people that these were very organized societies of artists, craftspeople, leaders, organized societies. and then, we want to show once again effect of the arrival of
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europeans and establishment of the country on these people, and to show, yeah, they were not all wiped out. the creeks, you know, out in oklahoma are still very vibrant, have a great society out there. very well organized government. you know, with a great story to tell of their culture and their history. it's important for people to understand that part of the united states history and also understanding that part of native american culture. mark the centennial of the national parks service, we are featuringhistoric sites and national parks from c-span's cities tour. for more information, check out our website c-span.org/citi estour. you were watching american history tv, all weekend, every weekend on c-span 3.
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week ktill the 2016 election, road to the white brings yound archival footage. next the presidential debate between bill clinton and senator bob dole from the 1996 campaign. in this event from hartford, connecticut, the candidates discuss national security, government spending, medicare it and their personal political philosophies. resident clinton defeated bob dole at 49% of the popular vote. to dole's 41%. ross perot finished third with 8.4%. this is just over 90 minutes. >> good evening from the theater in hartford, connecticut. welcome to the first of the 1996 presidential debate between presidential

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