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.
The Leake Mounds Interpretive Trail includes eighteen interpretive exhibit panels located along a 1.5 mile walking trail. This website includes audiovisual materials that enhance the trail's signage. Each sign contains a QR Code that enables visitors with mobile web devices to access additional content, such as audio, video, and images.
The Leake Mounds Interpretive Trail is located in Cartersville, Georgia, on Highway-61/113 West (approximately four miles west of downtown Cartersville and 1.5 miles north of the Etowah Indian Mounds State Park.)
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.
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
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.
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
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
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.
How did American Indian societies make and use bows and arrows? Watch a demonstration
of how American Indians used these tools.
How did American Indian societies create pottery? Watch as archaeologists demonstrate
the techniques used by American Indians to create pottery.
Watch as Scot Keith discusses how the Leake Site evolved over time.
For centuries a lot of speculation and myth surrounded American Indian mounds. Who
built these mounds and why? View Mounds and Moundbuilding Interpretive Panel
Have you ever wondered how American Indians built mounds? Listen to the podcast
below to find out.
Watch as Scot Keith describes the three mounds that were once located at the Leake
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
View Preserving the Past Interpretive Panel
1938 aerial photograph of the Leake Site showing the location of two mounds.
Courtesy National Archives, College Park, Maryland
1943 aerial photograph of the Leake Site taken after the two mounds were destroyed.
Listen to Georgia Department of Transportation archaeologists discuss how the National
Historic Preservation Act affects their work.
Listen to Georgia Department of Transportation archaeologists discuss how their
office makes its findings available to the public.
Listen to Podcast #2
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.
Watch as Scot Keith describes the laws that exist that protect archaeological and
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
Learn more about the clues that archaeologists use when exploring an archaeological
Learn about effigies found at the Leake Site.
Join Scot Keith as he looks for clues about life at the Leake Site.
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 Georgia Department of Transportation archaeologists discuss issues pertaining
to archaeological field work.
Watch as archaeologists use shovels and screens to locate artifacts found in the
Watch as archaeologists use shovels and trowels to locate artifacts found in the
Watch a Video #2
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 as archaeologists use ground penetrating radar to investigate archaeological
Watch as Scot Keith discusses what archaeologists have learned about the Leake Site's
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
Oral traditions help archaeologists understand more about American Indian culture.
Listen to the podcast below to learn more.
Visit the PBS site "Circle
to learn more about American Indian storytelling traditions.
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
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.
Watch as Scot Keith discusses the significance of the Etowah River at the Leake
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
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.
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
Watch as Scot Keith describes how the Leake Site was part of the Hopewell Interaction
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 Panel
What can archaeologists learn about the Leake Site inhabitants from the trash they
left behind? Listen to this podcast to find out.
Scot Keith describes what middens can tell archaeologists about life at the Leake
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
How do archaeologists interact with the public? Watch this video to discover more
about public archaeology.
Watch as Scot Keith describes what it meant as an archaeologist to work on the Leake
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
Archaeologists can learn a lot about American Indians from broken pieces of pottery
recovered during excavations. Listen to this podcast to learn more.
See how pottery vessels were made.
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
What potential threats do archaeological sites face? Listen to the podcast below
to learn more.
Watch as Scot Keith discusses how many archaeological sites are threatened by human
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
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.
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
Learn more about how other features in the area were important to the Leake Site's
Watch as Scot Keith describes how the Leake Site was part of a larger complex of
sites throughout the area.
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 and learn about mineral resources in the Bartow County area.
Watch as archaeologists demonstrate flint knapping.
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.