Can the alignments of the Giza Pyramids be explained from Moundville, Alabama artifacts? —Part 1
Mississippian Mound Complex
By Dr. Greg Little
Portions of this article come from The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Native American Mounds & Earthworks
With the exception of the Cahokia, Illinois mounds, the site of Moundville, Alabama is the most impressive Mississippian-era mound complex in America. It is a large 326-acre archaeological park with 20 large, flat-topped (truncated) pyramid mounds arranged around a wide central plaza area. (See aerial photo.)
Other mounds are located in the immediate area and numerous small villages are found along the Black Warrior River extending in both directions from the site. Moundville was constructed around A.D. 1200 and the grounds house a museum and a reconstructed village area.
The 20 well-preserved pyramid mounds range in height from 3 to 60-feet. The larger mounds have bases that are 200 by 300-feet. Archaeologists believe that the central area, dominated by the 20 mounds around its perimeter, was fortified by a high palisade wall and was inhabited by 1000 people believed to be the elite members of the society. Another 10,000 people lived in the villages scattered around in the immediate vicinity.
Extensive excavations at Moundville uncovered some of the most exquisite and intriguing artifacts ever found at mound sites. Ceremonial axes, polished stone discs engraved with symbolic designs, effigy pipes, and inscribed [pottery found at Moundville are on display at the site. Several of the most intriguing designs include feathered serpents, horned serpents, skulls with protruding tongues, twisted serpents, and the enigmatic “eye in the hand symbol.”
For decades archaeologists have struggled to understand the meaning of the various symbols and concluded that it was a “cult of death” also found in other Southern mound sites, but a full understanding escaped them. Initially they named it the “Southern Death Cult” but later renamed it the “Southern Ceremonial Complex.”
In recent years academic archaeologists at several major universities began to intensify their efforts at understanding these unique symbols by searching antiquarian books that detailed tribal lore and legends as well as correlating these with modern archaeoastronomy and research with modern shaman. Detailed statistical analyses of artifact symbols were also used to create never-before understood correlations among mound sites. The picture started coming together around 2003 but was not fully pieced together until more recently. In brief, the symbolism involves the journey of the soul after death and shows a complicated belief system highly similar to ancient Egyptian ideas of the afterlife and the journey of the soul. The most intriguing ideas in the Native American symbology involve the constellations of Orion and Cygnus as well as the Milky Way. In sum, after death, the soul has numerous choices to make that involve taking a journey with only one correct path. The journey leads to a spot where the physical earth is escaped leading to a stellar portal to the main path. Proceeding on the main path (the Milky Way) the soul encounters several choice points which can lead to a final portal into “heaven” or the afterlife. This will be fully explained in the next part. However, the Native American beliefs explained in artifacts directly relates to a major controversy in Egypt.
Until the publication of Andrew Collins’ book, The Cygnus Mystery, in 2006, many people assumed that the 3 main pyramids at Giza were built to reflect the belt stars of Orion and it is accepted that Orion played a key role in Egyptian beliefs. But Collins showed that the main stars of the Cygnus Constellation fit the pyramids at Giza even better than does Orion, and that the other key stars of Cygnus were reflected on the ground at Giza by openings at important points. Collins actually found and explored a lost tunnel system under Giza from his idea. However, there the debate has remained—in a sort of stalemate between the ideas that the Giza complex was built to reflect Orion (as Robert Bauval insists) or Cygnus (as Collins has suggested). In Part 2 of this article, we’ll show what American archaeologists have found at Moundville and why this may well explain the Giza controversy.