Pinson Mounds


Jan van der Crabben
published on 30 May 2014
Saul's Mound (by Wayne Hsieh)

The Pinson Mounds are an ancient Native American complex that was discovered in Madison County, Tennessee. The prehistoric site includes at least 17 earthen mounds and sophisticated habitation areas.  The complex, which was likely constructed sometime between 200 BCE and 500 CE, is the largest collection of mounds in the United States from the Middle Woodland period. During this time, prehistoric Native Americans began farming on the lands and making pottery out of clay. The site is situated on a plateau over the wetlands, lining the banks of the South Fork and Forked Deer River.

The Pinson Mounds were discovered after the Chickasaw Nation ceded lands in western Tennessee in 1818. Joel Pinson arrived in the territory near what is currently Madison County to survey the land and discovered the complex.  It ended up being named after him in the year 1820.

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The site is now a part of Pinson Mounds State Archaeological Park in Tennessee and is listed as a national historic landmark. The park features hiking trails, group camping, picnic areas, a museum, tours, special events and activities. One particular mound at this complex, Saul’s Mound, stands 72 feet tall and is currently the second-highest surviving mound in the U.S.

Editorial Review This Article has been reviewed for accuracy, reliability and adherence to academic standards prior to publication.

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Cite This Work

APA Style, . (2014, May 30). Pinson Mounds. Ancient History Encyclopedia. Retrieved from

Chicago Style, . "Pinson Mounds." Ancient History Encyclopedia. Last modified May 30, 2014.

MLA Style, . "Pinson Mounds." Ancient History Encyclopedia. Ancient History Encyclopedia, 30 May 2014. Web. 17 Oct 2019.

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