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Alternate Perceptions Magazine, March 2021


Chickasawba Mound, Arkansas Platform Mound, Village, Burial Mounds • Mississippian

by: Dr. Greg Little

Portions of this article come from The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Native American Mounds & Earthworks.

Chickasawba Mound is located in Blytheville, Arkansas near the former Eaker Air Force Base—which served as a massive SAC center for B-52s during the Cold War. The base was closed in 1992 and the airport is now operated by the community. The mound is located on private farmland just to the north of Hwy 151 and Chickaswba Avenue in Blytheville. The mound is restricted and many efforts to loot the site have occurred over the years. It is also known as 3M55, Blytheville Mound, Chickasaw Mound, Gosnell Place, and Big Mound. It is densely covered by trees and brush with potholes everywhere on it that were dug by looters. It is a large platform mound 25-feet in height with the top area covering one acre. Nearby was a large village area called Ghickasawba. There are other mounds nearby as well as numerous small burial mounds on the grounds of the former Eaker field. The site was started as early as AD 500 and the main mounds were constructed around AD 1000. However, the mound and village areas were used by the Shawnee Tribe until as late as 1860.

The mound and village derive their name from a Shawnee Chief named Chickasawba who is supposed to have been buried at the base the main mound. Newspaper accounts from the Memphis Appeal (now the Commercial Appeal) reported that the Chief and tribe assembled near the mound annually and traded with the settlers. The Chief died around 1822. There were many excavations performed in the village, in nearby burial mounds that have long been obliterated, and in a cemetery located not far from the village area. Recent surveys by Arkansas archaeologists have found pottery scattered on and around the platform mound. Another recent report by Arkansas archaeologists related that a farmer who leveled a nearby area uncovered numerous burials, unusual pottery, and hearths that were unusual. The archaeologists were not allowed to examine the skeletal remains, which were piled into a heap and immediately reburied. The archaeological report included numerous photos of the pottery and hearths, but of course, none of the skeletons.

An 1899 article by the Memphis Appeal newspaper related that during excavations at the site a large, giant skeleton was uncovered somewhere near the base of the mound. The skeleton measured 8 to 9 feet long. Under the skeleton they found a large number of unusual pottery vessels. Other excavations in the area were said to have found similar pottery as well as more giant skeletons. The Editor of the newspaper reported he had measured a thigh-bone as 3-feet in length with the entire skeleton measuring 9-feet long. One of the burial areas where a large number of skeletons were found has eroded completely into the St. Francis River.

Thursday, June 20, 2024