South Charleston Mound
The WVGenWeb Project

The Adena Indians "Mound Builders"

CAME to the Kanawha County area around 1000 B.C. and stayed to around 1650. Who were these mysterious people. Some say they came from Mexico, while others agree they crossed into this hemisphere from Europe. Some even say that they were the Lost Tribes of Israel, early Spanish explorers or even Vikings. They left behind several mounds in the South Charleston area. These mounds were excavated by the Smithsonian Institution in the late 1800ís. Their findings were as varied as the sizes of the different mounds. One of the best known of these mounds is the Criel Mound. Located in downtown South Charleston this mound is named after the people who once owned a farm that the mound is located on. The Criel Mound is one hundred seventy-five feet in diameter at the base, and thirty-five feet high. When the mound was examined in 1883 and 1884 the Smithsonian Institution found the following:

Smaller mounds excavated in the same area, at the same time revealed a great variety of content . Most mounds did have in common they were made of solid clay. Most, but not all, mounds contained a strata of ashes and charcoal. Some of the mounds contained human skeletons buried near the top surface, but most of the burials were at the bottom of the mound. The Mound Builders seem to have had no fixed practice on the how to bury their dead. Skeletons lay to all points east, west, north and south. Skeletons rested face down and face up, while others reclined on their sides. Some skeletons had both arms extended at right angles to their bodies, while others had only one arm in this position. Some mounds contained ornaments, implements, and tools, while others contained no such things.

Map of Area Mounds

Picture of the Criel Mound

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