Alternate Perceptions Magazine, May 2023
Emerald Mound, Mississippi
by: Dr. Greg Little
Portions of this article come from The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Native American Indian Mounds & Earthworks. Emerald Mound is a National Park Service site and is located at milepost 10.3 on the Natchez Trace Parkway, about 10 miles northeast of Natchez, MS.
Emerald is the second largest ceremonial mound in North America. It was once known as the Selzertown Mound. It covers 8-acres and its base measures 770 by 435-feet. The main mound stands 35-feet high but the summit served as the base of 8 other mounds erected on its flattop surface. Six small truncated pyramids once flanked the long sides of the mound but today they are all but gone. On the ends of the large mound were two large truncated pyramids, both of which remain today partially intact. The largest of these upper mounds is 160 by 190-feet and 30-feet in height, making Emerald a very unusual structure of mounds erected on top of a huge mound. The mounds on the top as well as the huge base mound were cultivated in the 1800s and early 1900s leading to the obliteration of the 6 smaller platform mounds on the summit. The mound originally had a large ditch or moat surrounding it along with several mounds in the area around it, however agricultural activity obliterated all traces of these elements of the site. The site is immense and impressive.
Emerald was built as a ceremonial center by the Mississippian culture used between A.D. 1200-1600 by the ancestors of the Natchez. In the 1600’s the site was abandoned and the ceremonial center moved to Natchez.