Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2014 - 27

Curios | Indian Mound

The View from an
INDIAN MOUND
STAND WHERE AN EIGHT-FOOT MAN
WAS ONCE BURIED BELOW.
by Su Clauson-Wicker

IT'S THE HIGHEST POINT IN SOUTH CHARLESTON,

W.Va., this huge earthen blister at the end of D Street.
The Criel Indian Mound rises 35 feet out of Staunton
Park with a diameter the length of two tennis courts.
Once it contained at least 13 skeletons.
That was before West Virginia residents built a
horse-racing track around its base and lopped off the
top for a judge's stand, back in 1840. The mound,
which was created by Adena people between 250 and
150 B.C., was excavated by the U.S. Bureau of
Ethnology in 1883-4 and restored with a walking
path spiraling up to its summit. The view from the
top is the best orientation to South Charleston.
During excavation, scientists found two skeletons
in an upper compartment and, down at the base, an
earlier burial of 13 people. A giant skeleton almost
eight feet tall lay at the center of the base, with his 10
tomb-mates radiating out toe to head from him like
spokes of a wheel. Arrowheads, lance heads, shells and
pottery fragments were arranged around all the skeletons. The big guy seemed to be reclining upon a sheet
of hammered native copper, indicating possible trade
with the Great Lakes region.
The best place to learn the story of the mound and
the Adena people is the South Charleston Interpretive

Center, four blocks down D Street from the park. The
little museum contains a trove of arrowheads, stone
tools and Adena jewelry, as well as a relief model of
the Criel Mound and images of its sibling mounds
rising from the plains around Charleston. Although
the remains of the skeletons have been transferred to
the Smithsonian Institute, the South Charleston center contains a wealth of information about them and
the contents of other Adena burial mounds.
The Criel Mound is the largest of three mounds
remaining in the suburbs west of Charleston. Before
development, more than 400 mounds dotted the
Mountain State, 50 in Kanawha River flood plain
near Charleston. The smaller Shawnee Mound still
stands in Dunbar, W.Va., as well as the Sunset Mound
flanking Sunset Cemetery two miles southwest of
Criel Mound.
"I've never heard about the mounds being
haunted," says interpretive center interpreter Joe
Mayes. "But I'd be a little angry if someone dug up
my body and hauled off my things."
The Criel Mound in Staunton Park can be visited
at any time. South Charleston Interpretive Center
(313 D Street) is open 10-5 Mondays-Fridays and
11-4 Saturdays; 304-720-9847. 

There were once as
many as 400 mounds
around Charleston, W.Va.
Only a few remain.

JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2014 | 27



Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2014

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2014

Cover
Table of Contents
Letters/Worth a Click
From the Editor
Creature Feature
From the Farm
Great Home Buys
Digital Help Guide
Mountain Report
The Hike
Festivals & Events
Mountain Curios: Racing Lawn Mowers
Mountain Curios: Stamping Out Squirrel Sex!
Mountain Curios: A Library as Big as a Breadbox?
Mountain Curios: Mill from 1794 Still Turns!
Mountain Curios: Indian Mounds in Downtown!
Travel Guide 2014: A Year of Great Festivals!
The Blue Ridge Parkway Photoessay
Travel Guide 2014: A Foodie's Dream Journey
Travel Guide 2014: The Retro Pilgrimage
Wilderness Institute in the Smokies
Mountain Garden
Cabin in the Woods: Royal Oaks Retreat
Guest Column
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2014 - Intro
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2014 - Cover
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2014 - Cover2
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2014 - Table of Contents
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2014 - 4
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2014 - Letters/Worth a Click
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2014 - From the Editor
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2014 - Creature Feature
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2014 - From the Farm
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2014 - 9
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2014 - Great Home Buys
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2014 - 11
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2014 - 12
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2014 - Digital Help Guide
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2014 - Mountain Report
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2014 - 15
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2014 - The Hike
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2014 - 17
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2014 - Festivals & Events
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2014 - 19
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2014 - 20
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2014 - 21
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2014 - 22
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2014 - Mountain Curios: Racing Lawn Mowers
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2014 - Mountain Curios: Stamping Out Squirrel Sex!
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2014 - Mountain Curios: A Library as Big as a Breadbox?
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2014 - Mountain Curios: Mill from 1794 Still Turns!
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2014 - Mountain Curios: Indian Mounds in Downtown!
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2014 - Travel Guide 2014: A Year of Great Festivals!
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2014 - 29
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2014 - 30
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2014 - 31
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2014 - 32
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2014 - 33
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2014 - The Blue Ridge Parkway Photoessay
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2014 - 35
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2014 - 36
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2014 - 37
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2014 - Travel Guide 2014: A Foodie's Dream Journey
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2014 - 39
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2014 - 40
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2014 - 41
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2014 - 42
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2014 - 43
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2014 - 44
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2014 - 45
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2014 - 46
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2014 - 47
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2014 - Travel Guide 2014: The Retro Pilgrimage
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2014 - 49
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2014 - 50
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2014 - 51
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2014 - 52
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2014 - 53
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2014 - Wilderness Institute in the Smokies
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2014 - 55
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2014 - 56
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2014 - 57
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2014 - 58
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2014 - Mountain Garden
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2014 - 60
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2014 - 61
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2014 - Cabin in the Woods: Royal Oaks Retreat
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2014 - 63
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2014 - 64
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2014 - 65
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2014 - Guest Column
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2014 - Cover3
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2014 - Cover4
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