|ive thousand years ago, a millennium
before the construction of the pyramids in Egypt and three thousand years before the great
Mayan stone works arose in Central America, Native Americans in the Golden Crescent began
to erect structures of monumental proportions. Because the area lacked stone, the
inhabitants used the most durable material available-shell.
A later tradition of earthen mound building left imposing building complexes in several locations. Some mounds contained burials, while others were leveled off at the top for house construction. Early Spanish explorers marveled at the large villages they encountered in the Golden Crescent. Construction projects, natural erosion, farming, and modern development have destroyed many mounds and rings, leaving only a few hundred.
History of Materials. The earliest building occurred along Florida's St. Johns River. By 2500 B.C. a few cultures developed a new technology - pottery that allowed the collection and storage of large quantities of shellfish.
Evolution of Mound Building. Ring building ceased in the area by 1000 B.C. In its place a new tradition of mound building was started using various materials, including sand, earth, and shell.