Marksville site map. The Marksville site is located on the eastern edge of the Marksville Prarie overlooking Old River and the adjacent floodplain approximately 12 meters below. Other early Marksville sites, such as Helena Crossing and Grand Gulf, are situated on similar high ground with commanding positions above the Mississippi Valley. The Marksville site was mapped and its features named by Gerard Fowke in 1926. (Fowke, 1928)
Marksville site, aerial view. Many of the main features of the Marksville site can be seen in the aerial photograph taken by Thomas Ryan in 1971. The main portion of the site is defined by a semicircular embankment about 1,100 meters long which now ranges from 1 to 2 meters in height. Within the enclosure are three conical mounds (Mounds 3, 4, and 5) and two larger truncated pyramidal mounds (Mounds 2 and 6). There is a small circular enclosure so
Marksville Stamped, var. Marksville vessel. Early excavations at Marksville produced ceramics that showed affinity with northern Hopewell. A finely made slender pot found by Fowke in Mound 8 has three repetitions of the raptorial bird motif. The background of the clay tempered vessel is roughen by dentate rocker stamping, another Hopewellian parallel. An almost identical vessel was found in Mound 4 (Toth 1974: Fig. c, d). Height 12.8 cm, diameter
Marksville crosshatched rim. A small plain vessel from the Crooks site (Ford Willey 1940) has a finely incised cross-hatched rim typical of those found at Marksville and most other early Marksville sites. The diagnostic rim treatment and the hemiconical punctate underneath, provide strong Hopewellian parallels. Vessel is Baytown Plain, var. Marksville. Height 5.6 cm, diameter 5.9 cm, capacity 90 ml. LSU No. 2278, Museum of Geoscience.
Reconstructed Marksville Mound 4. The most famous Marksville conical mound was excavated by Fowke in 1926, explored by John R. Swanton in 1930, and further excavated by Frank Setzler and James A. Ford in 1933 (see Toth 1974 for details). The mound, approximately 33 meters in diameter and 7 meters in height, into which a burial vault had been sunk. Somewhere between 35 and 60 burials were located in Mound 4, most of them in the burial vault and on t
Marksville earthworks. Originally, the main earthworks at the Marksville site were 2.5 to 4 meters high and had a ditch, or borrow area, along the outside edge (Toth 1974: 15). The earthworks define a broad "ceremonial" area which can be entered through three openings. The Marksville embankment never has been excavated, and thus it is unwise to assign such constructions to the early Marksville period - no matter how strong the parallels to northern
Mound City earthworks, Ross County, Ohio. Having worked at Ohio Hopewell sites, Setzler (1934) made the obvious, but superficial, connection between Marksville and Ohio Hopewell sites. In terms of their configuration and the burial mounds within, the Marksville earthworks do resemble the pattern at Mound City and other Hopewell sites in Ohio. Until tested, however, the parallel is just an unproved hypothesis.
Serpent Mound, Adams County, Ohio. Another famous example of Hopewellian earthwork construction, over 400 meters in length, is the Serpent Mound which also is associated with a conical burial mound. There are no Marksville earthworks of this pattern, although in cross section the earthworks should be somewhat similar.
Marksville Stamped, var. Marksville vessel. John R. Swanton was given a small beaker from Fowke's unfinished trench in Marksville Mound 4 that provided a good example of zoned dentate rocker stamping. The roughened background is used to achieve a dual motif which may represent the talons of a bird of prey. Height 7.6 cm, diameter 8.8 cm, capacity 330 ml. Smithsonian No. 364275, U.S. National Museum.
Marksville Stamped, var. Old River vessel. Another beaker, built around three lobes, utilizes non-dentate rocker stamping to emphasize halves of a motif resembling a corner notched projectile point. Both dentate and non-dentate rocker stamping have northern Hopewell parallels. The dash-dot rim treatment on this vessel excavated by Fowke in Marksville Mound 4 is an early Marksville diagnostic with no identified comparisons from outside the Lower Mis