The mound builders

by Robert Silverberg

Other authorsRobert Silverberg
Paper Book, 1970



Call number

E73 .S572 1970


Greenwich, Conn, New York Graphic Society [1970]


Uncovers the history and culture of the ancient Americans who built Ohio's burial mounds.

User reviews

LibraryThing member ksmyth
Silverberg's book is probably fairly dated now, but it is a great introduction to this fascinating book.

Silverberg divides the Mound Builders into two categories, the more northerly Adena and Hopewell peoples, and the more southern Mississippians. He discusses their cultural differences as well as
Show More
the archaeological findings.

Silverberg begins to ask the questions about the disappearance of these cultures, but leaves most of the answers to other writers.
Show Less
LibraryThing member JustMe869
The Mound Builders, by Robert Silverberg, is a fascinating history.

The first two thirds of the book is devoted not to the mound builders themselves, but to the odyssey of American archeology discovering their existence.

Europeans had known about the mounds since the expeditions of De Soto in the
Show More
early 1500s and mound building continued in some parts of North America until the early 1700s. However, beginning in the late 18th and continuing through most of the 19th century many Americans came to believe the myth of the mound builders.

These magnificent earthen structures, laden with artifacts of a lost civilization, requiring large, highly organized societies, were the work of a vanished race. The mound builders were Phoenicians or Greeks or the lost tribes of Israel or survivors from Atlantis. It was impossible that they could have been related to the heathen savages that the Europeans were so efficiently exterminating. Many versions of the myths had Native Americans as the villains in the story, destroying the mound builders civilization. It wasn’t until the late 1800s that the myth was deflated and archaeologists allowed the mounds themselves to tell their story.

The final third of The Mound Builders tells of the three great mound building cultures in North America; the Adena, Hopewell and Mississippians. The Adena were the first to build mounds, beginning around 1000BC. The Hopewell arrived some 600 years later and the two cultures coexisted for several hundred years. The Mississippian culture was coming into being as the Hopewell disappeared, around 700AD. The culture was in decline long before the arrival of the Europeans.

The mounds of North America have many unsolved mysteries and Mr. Silverberg is careful to present multiple viewpoints regarding current speculations.

Mr. Silverberg mentions my current obsession, Cahokia, only in passing. Although Cahokia was the largest prehistoric city in North American and Monk’s Mound dwarfs any other structure of the mound building cultures, much of the archaeological work in Cahokia had not occurred when The Mound Builders was published in 1970.

If you have even a passing interest in North American archeology, The Mound Builders is a good read.
Show Less


Original publication date


Physical description

276 p.; 22 cm


0821203428 / 9780821203422



Similar in this library

Page: 0.2758 seconds