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Towosahgy, Missouri Mound Complex & Fortified Village

Mississippian Mound Complex, Earthworks, & Village—Located in Towosahgy State Park—near East Prairie, in southeast MO. Go 6 miles east on Hyw. 80 to County Road AA, then go 2 miles south to County Road FF, then go 3 miles south to a gravel road leading one mile to the park entrance.

By Dr. Greg Little

Portions of this article and the illustration above are from The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Native American Mounds & Earthworks.

Towosahgy is an Osage word for “old town,” but it is doubtful that the Osage ever occupied the site. The complex is also known as “Beckwith’s Fort,” because when it was first discovered it was immediately seen as an abandoned fortress. It was a major Woodland-era village inhabited around A.D. 1000, however, there were even earlier occupations dated to as early as 8,000 B.C. The village, located near the Mississippi River, was gradually expanded and eventually fortified with the construction of a moat enclosing a massive palisade wall with over 30 bastion-like components. Enclosed in the 30-acre fort were several large platform mounds of which six remain today. The mounds were arranged around a massive flat plaza area, which had a circular henge of tall wooden posts embedded in the center. The largest platform mound is 16-feet high with a base of 180 by 250-feet. The Mississippian-era fort was abandoned around A.D. 1400 for unknown reasons. The site is in Mississippi County, and county historical records indicate that at least 1,000 mounds remain in the county limits.

Monday, February 06, 2023