Distribution and Population of the The Mound Building Indians



DISTRIBUTION and POPULATION OF THE MOUND-BUILDING INDIANS


The Indian mounds of these first Americans of which we know are found between Oregon and the Wyoming valley, in Pennsylvania, and Onondaga county in New York; they extend from Manitoba in Canada to the Gulf of Mexico.
The great seat of empire was in the drainage area of the Mississippi river; on this river and its tributaries were the heaviest mound-building populations. Few mounds are found east of the Alleghany mountains.
In the Catalogue of Prehistoric Works East of the Rocky Mountains, issued by the Bureau of Ethnology of the Smithsonian Institution,  the geographical extent and density of the Indian mounds in central North America is brought out state by state with striking suggestiveness. While the layman is[] warned that these maps “present some features which are calculated to mislead,” and that the maps indicate “to some extent the more thoroughly explored areas rather than the true proportion of the ancient works in the different sections,” still some conclusions have already been reached which future exploitation will never weaken.
It is not expected that future investigation will change the verdict that the heaviest mound-building population found its seat near the Mississippi and Ohio rivers. “There is little doubt,” writes Dr. Thomas, “that when Mississippi, Alabama, and Georgia have been thoroughly explored many localities will be added to those indicated ... but it is not likely that the number will be found to equal those in the area drained by the Ohio and its affluents or in the immediate valley of the Mississippi.”
This fact, that the heaviest populations of the mound-building Indians seem to have been near the Mississippi and Ohio is, of course, shown by the arch├Žological maps. In a rough way, subject to the limitations previously mentioned, it can be found that the following fourteen states contain evidences of having held the heaviest ancient populations:
Ohio,
Wisconsin,
Tennessee,
Illinois,
Florida,
New York,
Kentucky,
Indiana,
Michigan,
Georgia and
Arkansas,
Missouri and
 North Carolina,
Minnesota,
Iowa,
Pennsylvania.
Now, by our last census the states which contain the largest population today are:
New York,
Pennsylvania,
Illinois,
Ohio,
Texas,
Missouri,
Massachusetts,
Indiana,
Michigan,
Iowa,
Georgia,
Kentucky,
Wisconsin,
Tennessee.
Thus of the fourteen most thickly populated states today perhaps twelve give fair evidence of having been most thickly popug ]lated in prehistoric times. As a general rule (but one growing less reliable every day) the heaviest population has always been found in the best agricultural regions; the states having the largest number of fertile acres have had, as a rule, the largest populations—or did have until the cities grew as they have in the past generation.