Marksville, Louisiana Mounds

by Dr. Greg Little

Marksville is the second or third most important mound site in Louisiana with only Poverty Point and perhaps Watson Brake as having more significance. The 42-acre site is a state park and has a quality museum on the grounds. It is located at 700 Martin Luther King Drive in Marksville, LA.

The Marksville site was inhabited by 1500 B.C., at the same time Poverty Point was flourishing. At that time the Mississippi River flowed nearby, but over time the river shifted its flow over 30-miles isolating the site. The mounds were constructed between A.D. 1-500. Marksville is a variant cultural term describing a specific type of Hopewell artifacts and a type of mound and earthwork construction. The complex was surrounded by a 3300-foot long semi-circular earthwork that is 3 to 7-feet tall. The open side of the outer earthwork fronts a bluff where the river once flowed. There are 6 mounds withn the enclosure with several others scattered outside the main complex. Two large truncated mounds can still be seen at the site today. Three miles north of Marksville is an associated mound site called Greenhouse. There are 5 truncated pyramid mounds at Greenhouse along with an elevated causeway erected atop a teardrop-shaped embankment at the site. Photos and archaeological reconstructions of both the Marksville and Greenhouse sites can be found in the Illustrated Encyclopedia.