Akimel O’Odham Traditional Knowledge Regarding Platform Mounds

Author(s): Linda Morgan; Chris Loendorf; Barnaby Lewis

Year: 2019


This is an abstract from the "Why Platform Mounds? Part 2: Regional Comparisons and Tribal Histories" session, at the 84th annual meeting of the Society for American Archaeology.

Platform mounds play a prominent role in the Akimel O’Odham creation story, but few archaeologists have considered the implications of this knowledge. The story names each of the mound leaders along the middle Gila River, and provides specific descriptions of the special abilities they possessed. The story also describes how Elder Brother, the primary deity of the O’Odham, attacked and defeated each of the mound leaders with the help of people who previously lived in the area. The close correspondences between this story and the archaeological record strongly suggest that the creation story can’t be a myth or fiction that was invented by the O’Odham. For example, the conquest story does not include reference to the many other large prehistoric sites that are present along the middle Gila, and instead only references the late Classic period platform mound locations that are known by archaeologists today. We suggest that researchers will gain valuable insight into Platform Mound communities if they more fully consider the implications of the Akimel O’Odham understanding of these settlements.

Cite this Record

Akimel O’Odham Traditional Knowledge Regarding Platform Mounds. Linda Morgan, Chris Loendorf, Barnaby Lewis. Presented at The 84th Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Albuquerque, NM. 2019 ( tDAR id: 451569)

Spatial Coverage

min long: -124.365; min lat: 25.958 ; max long: -93.428; max lat: 41.902 ;

Record Identifiers

Abstract Id(s): 24151