Between 1790 and 1840, a constructed belief system arose arguing that the numerous Indian mounds were constructed by a separate, more “civilized” “Mound Builder” race. The multiple Mound Builder myths corresponded with a rising nationalism and romanticism in the United States that posited an ancient connection to the Old World. These myths reflected contemporary racial perceptions of American Indians, thus denying American Indian’s ownership of the land and their rightful place in history. Furthermore, the histories of the mounds serve as a modern-day warning against nationalism and pseudo-history for political purposes.
Copyright 2020 by American Society for Ethnohistory