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Singer-Moye Indian Mound complex

Archaeologist Don Gordy of the Columbus Museum excavates the hearth area of the earth lodge at the Singer-Moye Indian Mound complex near Columbus, Georgia. Gordy said the lodge was a 29-foot-square subterranean building similar to an adobe house.






Behind the Scenes

Indian mounds offer new
research opportunities

By Philip Lee Williams

One of the most important and best-preserved archaeological sites in the Southeast, the Singer-Moye Indian Mound complex near Columbus, Georgia, has been given to the University of Georgia by the Columbus Museum. The site, featuring eight mounds, will be managed by UGA’s Museum of Natural History and will offer insights into a chiefdom that flourished in west central Georgia some 700 years ago.

“The research questions that can be addressed at Singer-Moye are boundless,” said Bud Freeman, director of UGA’s Museum of Natural History. “And the opportunities for students at all levels are wonderful. No other academic institution in the U.S. has ownership of such a magnificent archaeological resource.”

Originally donated to the Columbus Museum in 1968, the property was assembled from several tracts owned by the Sam Singer and L.M. Moye families as well as the Georgia-Kraft Corporation. Transfer of the site from the Columbus Museum has been in the works for several years.

The site dates from the Mississippian Period, which lasted from about 800 to 1500 B.C. The eight mounds, covering nearly 44 acres, are part of a larger area of Mississippian occupation. The largest mound is more than 43 feet high and includes some 14,000 square feet of surface area. However, earlier research estimated that the size of the site, including villages, may well extend beyond these boundaries.

“The largest mound, clearly the home of a very powerful Indian chief, is perhaps the fourth-largest such structure in the state behind Etowah, Ocmulgee and Kolomoki,” said Freeman, who is also a senior public service associate in UGA’s Odum School of Ecology. “Its odd location raises intriguing questions of environment and prehistoric politics that demand answers.”



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