Sometimes you have to step away from the emails and housecleaning and go on an adventure! A few weeks ago I did just that. Not wanting to go alone I called my mother and she agreed to be my road trip buddy.
Our destination of choice was the Town Creek Indian Mound in Mt. Gilead, the only state historic site in North Carolina dedicated to the Native Americans. Located southeast of the beautiful downtown, this site dates back to the 11th century A.D. when a new cultural tradition began – called “Pee Dee” after the Pee Dee River Valley.
Located on a bluff overlooking the meeting of the Town Creek and Little River, the site hosted religious ceremonies and feasts. High-ranking members of the tribe were also buried there. The most important gathering was the annual “busk” during which “houses were cleaned and the temple and grounds were repaired. All fires were extinguished and all debts and grievances were resolved. From outlying villages people came and gathered at the ceremonial center for rituals of purification. Everyone prepared to begin the new year with the eating of new corn at the conclusion of the busk, also known as ‘poskito.’ At the close of the busk visitors returned to their villages, carrying with them embers from the sacred fire with which to relight the hearths in their own homes.”
Archaeological excavations began in 1937 and continued for fifty years. It became a state historic site in 1955 and over the next 15 years the ceremonial mound was restored and the buildings and stockade recreated. Most of the research at Town Creek was directed by UNC-Chapel Hill archaeologist Joffre Coe and his associates.
Today a visit to the site includes a short, informational video, museum displays of items recovered from the site, a short nature walk from the river to the visitor center, and the reconstructed Town Creek Indian Mound. Admission is free but a donation is encouraged. Mom and I thoroughly enjoyed our visit and look forward to returning. Mission accomplished!