Their temples and homes have long been erased by the passage of time, but striking visible evidence of some of Mississippi’s earliest residents still stands in the form of earthen mounds built as many as 2,000 years ago. These mounds, among the largest and oldest in the nation, offer an unforgettable glimpse into the societies of prehistoric America.
Launched in 2016, the Mississippi Mound Trail stretches 350 miles along the Highway 61 corridor, all the while highlighting Native American earthworks at 33 sites. State archaeologists say while the oldest mounds, located near Batesville, date back to the Woodland Period, which began in 1 A.D., Mississippi has actually been inhabited for 12,000 years or more.
All of the mounds along the trail, built as burial sites, temple foundations and other hubs of long-ago life, can be viewed from parking areas beside public roadways and are marked by educational signs. Four sites—Grand Village of the Natchez Indians, Pocahontas Rest Area and Welcome Center, Winterville Mounds Archaeological Park, and Emerald Mound, are also accessible on foot and feature additional interpretive information and exhibits, including a museum at the 42-acre Winterville site and a reconstructed Natchez Indian house at the Grand Village of the Natchez Indians.