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The various cultures collectively termed Mound Builders were inhabitants of North America who, during a 5,000-year period, constructed various styles of earthen mounds for religious and ceremonial, burial, and elite residential purposes.

These included the Pre-Columbian cultures of the Archaic period; Woodland period (Adena and Hopewell cultures); and Mississippian period; dating from roughly 3500 BCE (the construction of Watson Brake) to the 16th century CE, and living in regions of the Great Lakes, the Ohio River Valley, and the Mississippi River valley and its tributary waters.

Although most of his paintings have been lost, some engravings were copied from the originals and published in 1591 by a Flemish company.

Among these is a depiction of the burial of an aboriginal Floridian tribal chief, an occasion of great mourning and ceremony.

A mound diagram of the platform mound showing the multiple layers of mound construction, mound structures such as temples or mortuaries, ramps with log stairs, and prior structures under later layers, multiple terraces, and intrusive burials.

During the 16th through 19th centuries, Europeans and Americans generally thought that a people other than one related to the historic Native Americans had built the mounds.

The namesake cultural trait of the Mound Builders was the building of mounds and other earthworks.

His large residence was built atop the highest mound, from “which, every morning, he greeted the rising sun, invoking thanks and blowing tobacco smoke to the four cardinal directions.” Later explorers to the same regions, only a few decades after mound-building settlements had been reported, found the regions largely depopulated, the residents vanished, and the mounds untended.Since the 19th century, the prevailing scholarly consensus has been that the mounds were constructed by indigenous peoples of the Americas.Sixteenth-century Spanish explorers met natives living in a number of later Mississippian cities, described their cultures, and left artifacts.At its maximum about CE 1150, Cahokia was an urban settlement with 20,000–30,000 people; this population was not exceeded by North American European settlements until after 1800.Some effigy mounds were constructed in the shapes or outlines of culturally significant animals.

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All of the sites which they identified as located in Kentucky came from the manuscripts of C. Archaeological survey and recording of mounds is an ongoing scholarly task.

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  1. Its first known appearance is in Wedderburn's Complaynt of Scotland (1548) under the name "The Frog cam to the Myl dur", though this is in Scots rather than English.