Mark Tolley stands on Westhaven mound one.

The 2,000 Year Old American Indian Mounds of Tennessee


A great article in The Tennessean highlights the state's incredible mounds, created two thousand years ago in the current Westhaven community.

"In 1 A.D. the Westhaven community in Franklin was a lush, expansive environment, filled with buffalo, deer, fish and clean water. It was also inhabited by a large primitive tribe, whose name and history were lost long ago," writes The Tennessean's Helen Meely. "However, Westhaven was left an ancient reminder that they were here. The community has two huge burial mounds, which at the moment are covered in brush and excessive plant life."

Harvard University's Peabody Museum carved tunnels through these mounds between 1875 and 1878 in an effort to remove precious artifacts, explained Mark M. Tolley of the Tennessee Ancient Sites Conservancy.

Tolley, a Tennessee Indian site archeologist, and Toye Heate, a former president of the Alliance for Native American Indian Rights and former state commissioner of Indian Affairs, have attempted to preserve Tennessee state heritage, by working closely with a dedicated group of volunteers from Franklin, Nashville and the Westhaven community on these two mounds.

The team the two men have formed have been "patiently clearing away debris and underbrush to expose the stunning mounds for all to see," Meeley writes. "These dedicated volunteers have been doing an excellent job; however, there is still much to be done. If you are interested in helping, contact Mark at"

For more on this story, click here.

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ppmickey's picture
Submitted by ppmickey on
This is exciting news. I hope Harvard still has the artifacts they removed from the mounds and that the mounds become a National Monument that is run by and secured by Native Americans. This would be a great place to visit for all Americans, just like the Indian Mounds in Newark, Ohio. There are other mounds in Ohio that Ohio has not cared that much about preserving and has let builders build around the mounds, even flooding an area and putting in a lake. How sad. The mounds of ancient Native Americans are so vital to preserve.

tamikeith's picture
Submitted by tamikeith on
I want to go here!! Any takers?? Anybody been here before??