The Georgia Trust


The Story: Located in the Etowah Valley Historic District in Bartow County, the Leake site is a prehistoric Middle Woodland and Late Mississippian archaeological site dating as far back as 300 BC. The site contains the remains of at least three earthen mounds and a vast ditch/moat; extensive midden deposits with artifacts and features remaining from everyday and ceremonial activities; the remains of structures, such as a probable ceremonial building and a possible shamanic facility; the remnants of a possible solar observatory that was associated with one of the mounds; and human burials.

The site linked the Southeast and the Midwest in the Hopewellian interaction sphere among Native people, where they traveled for ceremonies and rituals leaving behind evidence of their travels. Investigations have shown that this site is as significant as other Middle Woodland sites in Georgia such as Tunacunnhee, Kolomoki, and Mandeville. It began as a small domestic village that developed into one of the most important sites in the Southeast, both as a ceremonial and political hub.

There are two occupations of the Leake site. The Middle Woodland occupation (300 BC-650 AD) is divided into two different phases: The Cartersville phase (300 BC-100 AD) and the Swift Creek phase (100-650 AD). The site was abandoned, but approximately 800 years later, Late Mississippian peoples occupied the area and may have come into contact with members of the Hernando de Soto expedition in 1542.

The Threat: The site extends along many different property parcels, some of which have already been industrially or commercially developed. The area surrounding the site is growing rapidly, so the unoccupied tracts of land in the archaeological site are in imminent danger of being destroyed.

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