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Leake Mounds Interpretive Trail

The Leake site is an American Indian archaeological site that is located along the Etowah River southwest of Cartersville, Georgia in Bartow County. The site contains the remains of an American Indian occupation that lasted from approximately 300 B.C. until 650 A.D. These remains include three earthen mounds and a large circular ditch, along with an extensive "midden" that represents a dark soil mixture of decomposed organic refuse and artifacts. The site was excavated in advance of the widening of State Highway 61/113, with over 50,000 square feet excavated. The Leake site archaeological investigation revealed that this site represents a major center during the prehistoric Middle Woodland period, figuring prominently in the interaction among peoples from throughout the Southeastern and the Midwestern United States.

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Trail Panels

The Leake Mounds Interpretive Trail is a 1.5-mile walking trail that includes 18 interpretive exhibit panels that provide information about the Leake Site's inhabitants.

Trail Panel #1: Time Travel

The Leake Site inhabitants first lived in modern-day Bartow County, Georgia, nearly 1,700 years prior to Christopher Columbus's "discovery" of North America in 1492.

Did you know that American Indian societies changed over time? Below you will find a podcast that explores the different periods of American Indian history.

Listen to Podcast

The Leake Mounds site is located within walking distance of the Etowah Indian Mounds. While the two sites are in close proximity, they were occupied during different periods. Listen to the following podcast to explore the various periods of American Indian history.

Interpretive Trail Panel (Time Travel) 

Time Travel

Trail Panel #2 (Not As Seen On TV)

What do archaeologists look for when they excavate a site? Below you will find podcasts and videos which indentify what archaeologists are looking for when they dig. View Not As Seen on TV Interpretive Panel

The arrival of Europeans in North America brought tremendous changes to American Indian societies. In this podcast we explore American Indian life after European contact.

Listen to Podcast

Archaeology provides us with the ability to explore American Indian life prior to the arrival of Europeans. In this podcast we learn more about American Indian life prior to European contact.

Listen to Podcast #2This link will direct you to a non-GDOT website.

American Indian Bow & Arrow Use (Watch Video)

How did American Indian societies make and use bows and arrows? Watch a demonstration of how American Indians used these tools.

Pottery Techniques

How did American Indian societies create pottery? Watch as archaeologists demonstrate the techniques used by American Indians to create pottery.
Watch VideoThis link will direct you to a non-GDOT website.

Walking Tour

Watch as Scot Keith discusses how the Leake Site evolved over time.
Watch VideoThis link will direct you to a non-GDOT website.

Trail Panel #3: Mounds and Moundbuilding

Leake Mound B
Photograph of Leake Mound "B" taken in 1917. Click photo to view larger version.

For centuries a lot of speculation and myth surrounded American Indian mounds. Who built these mounds and why? View Mounds and Moundbuilding Interpretive Panel

Listen to a Podcast

Have you ever wondered how American Indians built mounds? Listen to the podcast below to find out.

Join Archaeologist Scot Keith on a Guided Walking Tour

Watch as Scot Keith describes the three mounds that were once located at the Leake Site.

 

Trail Panel #4: Preserving the Past

Did you know that Federal laws exist that protect archaeological sites such as the Leake Site? Listen to the podcasts below to find out how Federal laws have protected this site. 

View Preserving the Past Interpretive Panel

Leake Mound 1938

1938 aerial photograph of the Leake Site showing the location of two mounds.

Courtesy National Archives, College Park, Maryland

Leake Mound 1943

1943 aerial photograph of the Leake Site taken after the two mounds were destroyed.

Courtesy National Archives, College Park, Maryland

Preserving the Past - Integrity (Listen to a Podcast)

Listen to Georgia Department of Transportation archaeologists discuss how the National Historic Preservation Act affects their work.

Preserving the Past - Mitigation

Listen to Georgia Department of Transportation archaeologists discuss how their office makes its findings available to the public.
Listen to Podcast #2This link will direct you to a non-GDOT website.

Preserving the Past - Section 106

How does Federal law protect archaeological and historical sites? Listen to Georgia Department of Transportation archaeologists discuss the basics of Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act.
Listen to Podcast #3This link will direct you to a non-GDOT website.

Join Archaeologist Scot Keith on a Guided Walking Tour

Watch as Scot Keith describes the laws that exist that protect archaeological and historical sites.

 

Trail Panel #5: Clues about the Past

Have you ever wondered how archaeologists learn about societies that did not leave behind written records? Below you will find a podcast and videos which explore the types of clues that archaeologists use to learn about the past.  View Clues About the Past Interpretive Panel 

Listen to a Podcast

Learn more about the clues that archaeologists use when exploring an archaeological site.

Watch a Video

Learn about effigies found at the Leake Site.

Join Archaeologist Scot Keith on a Guided Walking Tour

Join Scot Keith as he looks for clues about life at the Leake Site.

 

Trail Panel #6: Can You Dig It

What do archaeologists look for when they excavate a site? Below you will find a podcast and a video which identify what archaeologists are looking for when they dig.  View Can You Dig It Interpretive Panel 

Listen to a Podcast

Listen to Georgia Department of Transportation archaeologists discuss issues pertaining to archaeological field work.

Can You Dig It (Watch a Video)

Watch as archaeologists use shovels and screens to locate artifacts found in the soil.

Tools of the Trade - Shovels and Trowels

Watch as archaeologists use shovels and trowels to locate artifacts found in the soil.
Watch a Video #2This link will direct you to a non-GDOT website.

Trail Panel #7: What's In a Site

Have you ever wondered how archaeologists know where to dig to locate artifacts? Watch the video below to find out how archaeologists identify potential archaeological sites. View What's In A Site Interpretive Panel

Watch a Video

Watch as archaeologists use ground penetrating radar to investigate archaeological sites.

Join Archaeologist Scot Keith on a Guided Walking Tour

Watch as Scot Keith discusses what archaeologists have learned about the Leake Site's inhabitants.

Trail Panel #8: The Unwritten Record

Oral traditions tell us a lot about American Indian culture. Many of these stories have been passed down from one generation to the next for centuries. Listen to the podcast below to learn more. View the Unwritten Record Interpretive Panel

Listen to a Podcast

Oral traditions help archaeologists understand more about American Indian culture. Listen to the podcast below to learn more.

"Circle of Stories" Website

Visit the PBS site "Circle of Stories"This link will direct you to a non-GDOT website. to learn more about American Indian storytelling traditions.

Trail Panel #9: Waterways

How did the Leake Site inhabitants use the Etowah River differently from the way you and I do today? Listen to the podcast below to find out. The Etowah River flows southwest from Dahlonega, Georgia, through Bartow County and into Rome, Georgia, where it meets the Oostanaula River. View Waterways Interpretive Panel

Listen to a Podcast

The Etowah River played a major role in the daily lives of the Leake Site inhabitants. Listen to the podcast below to learn more about the connections between the river and the Leake Site.

Join Archaeologist Scot Keith on a Guided Tour

Watch as Scot Keith discusses the significance of the Etowah River at the Leake Site.

Map This map shows the network of waterways that made the Leake Site accessible to American Indians between the Southeast and Midwest.

Trail Panel #10: Gateway Community

Did you know that American Indians from as far away as the American Midwest traveled to the Leake Site? Learn more about why the Leake Site was a gateway community below. View Gateway Community Interpretive Panel

Listen to a Podcast

Archaeologists unearthed artifacts at the Leake Site that originated from the American Midwest and other regions. How did these artifacts come to the Leake Site? Listen to the podcast below to learn more.

Map
This map shows the geographic range of the Hopewell Interaction Sphere.

Trail Panel #11: Hopewell Interaction Sphere

How did artifacts created by American Indians living in the American Midwest end up at the Leake Site? Check out the video below to find out. View the "Hopewell Interaction Sphere" Interpretive Trail Panel

Join Archaeologist Scot Keith on a Guided Walking Tour

Watch as Scot Keith describes how the Leake Site was part of the Hopewell Interaction Sphere.

Trail Panel #12: Hidden Midden

Did you know that archaeologists can learn a lot about how people lived in the past from middens--compost material remains from an extended period of human settlement at a particular site? Listen to the podcast below to learn more about the Leake Site's midden. View the Hidden Midden Interpretive Trail PanelThis link will direct you to a non-GDOT website.

Listen to a Podcast

What can archaeologists learn about the Leake Site inhabitants from the trash they left behind? Listen to this podcast to find out.

Join Archaeologist Scot Keith on a Guided Walking Tour

Scot Keith describes what middens can tell archaeologists about life at the Leake Site.

Trail Panel #13: On the Job

How do archaeologists make their findings available and understandable to the public? Watch the video below to learn more. View the On the Job" Interpretive Trail Panel

Watch a Video

How do archaeologists interact with the public? Watch this video to discover more about public archaeology.

Join Archaeologist Scot Keith on a Guided Walking Tour

Watch as Scot Keith describes what it meant as an archaeologist to work on the Leake Site excavation.

Trail Panel #14: Pieces of the Past

What can archaeologists learn about the past from broken pieces of pottery? A lot! Listen to the podcasts and watch the videos below to learn more. View the Pieces of the Past Interpretive Trail Panel

Listen to a Podcast

Archaeologists can learn a lot about American Indians from broken pieces of pottery recovered during excavations. Listen to this podcast to learn more.

Watch a Video

See how pottery vessels were made.

Trail Panel #15: The Past: Enjoy, Don't Destroy

Archaeological sites are threatened by a variety of human activities. How can we protect these sites? Listen to the podcast and watch the video below to find out more. View the The Past: Enjoy, Don't Destroy Interpretive Trail Panel

Listen to a Podcast

What potential threats do archaeological sites face? Listen to the podcast below to learn more.

 

Join Archaeologist Scot Keith on a Guided Walking Tour

Watch as Scot Keith discusses how many archaeological sites are threatened by human activity.

 

Map
Map identifying locations of prominent Indian trails located in the Leake Site's area.

Trail Panel #16: Rivers, Roads, and I-75

Travel and transportation played a big part in making the Leake Site an important location. Listen to the podcast below to find out more. View the Rivers, Roads, and I-75 Interpretive Trail Panel

Listen to a Podcast

Did you know that American Indians used rivers to travel hundreds of miles? In this podcast you will discover why American Indians traveled to and from the Leake Site.

 

Trail Panel #17: Complex and Connected

The Leake Site's three mounds weren't the only features important to the people who lived here. Check out the podcast and video below to learn more about the connections between the Leake Site and its surrounding area. View the Complex and Connected Interpretive Trail Panel

Listen to a Podcast

Learn more about how other features in the area were important to the Leake Site's inhabitants.

Join Archaeologist Scot Keith on a Guided Walking Tour

Watch as Scot Keith describes how the Leake Site was part of a larger complex of sites throughout the area.

Trail Panel #18: From the Earth

Bartow County's mineral resources have played a major role in this area's development for more than a thousand years. Listen to the podcast below to find out more. You will also find a video that demonstrates how Native Americans transformed flint into projectiles. View the From the Earth Interpretive Trail Panel

Listen to a Podcast

Listen and learn about mineral resources in the Bartow County area.

Watch a Video

Watch as archaeologists demonstrate flint knapping.

Join Archaeologist Scot Keith on a Guided Walking Tour

Why did the Leake Site attract people from near and far? Watch as Scot Keith describes how geology and geography played major roles in the Leake Site's development.

 

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