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Wednesday, Sep 22, 2021

Experience history at Ocmulgee National Monument

Macon is a city full of history and culture. There are many unique places to visit all over town. One of the oldest places to visit is the Ocmulgee National Monument. With evidence of human life dating back 17,000 years, the Ocmulgee National Monument is a great place for anyone interested in science, culture, history or nature.
The most obvious feature of the Ocmulgee National Monument would be the earthen mounds built by the South Appalachian Mississippian culture over a thousand years ago. These mounds include a Great Temple and burial mounds. Besides the mounds, there are 702 acres of land and a visitors center containing an archeology museum.
As a place rich in history, human life can be traced back to the ice age through a spear found on the Macon Plateau. Many groups of Native Americans have found their home on the Macon Plateau, including the Mississippian culture responsible for the famous mounds. The Spanish arrived in this area in 1540, bringing disease and ravaging the land for resources. In 1690, the British established a trading post on the Ocmulgee River on land now protected by the Ocmulgee National Monument. Groups of Muscogee Native Americans settled around the post and the British called them the “Creek Indians.” Interaction with European groups changed the culture of the Native Americans.
In 1843, the Central Railroad constructed a railroad through what is now the Ocmulgee National Monument, destroying part of the Lesser Temple and the prehistoric town. Another part of the park was destroyed in 1874 when a second part of the railroad was built. This cut destroyed the funeral mound and it is rumored that relics and human remains were removed during the process. That railroad is still in use. Finally, the park became a national monument in 1939 under President Franklin D. Roosevelt after several archeological finds were unearthed, protecting the park from further destruction.
For those more interested in the sciences, the Ocmulgee National Monument is a great place to visit in order to learn about nature. The park is located along the Ocmulgee River and is a great representation of the “fall line” environment, an environment created by ocean waves thousands of years ago. Now, the area is home to rich river, field and forest environments full of all sorts of species of flora and fauna.
The monument is open from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. and is only closed on New Year’s and Christmas. It can be found at 1207 Emery Highway, just across the Ocmulgee River. It is a great place for a run or for exploring your intellectual side in the museum. You can also ride your bike or go for a guided tour around the monument. In addition to regular year-round visits, during the third week of September the monument hosts the Ocmulgee Indian Celebration. This special event celebrates Native American culture. In March, the monument hosts lantern lit tours. No matter what time of year, the Ocmulgee National Monument is the perfect place to visit for science, history and fun.


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