Santee Indian Mound in Summerton, SC

Indian mounds in SC are quite rare.  Typically the mound building groups were further west and north.  However, South Carolina does have one that is quite remarkable and probably many more that are unrecognizable today.

The Santee Indian Mound is around 1,000 years old and served as a prehistoric ceremonial and subsequent burial site for the Santee Indians. This area served as the center for the confederation of agricultural villages all along the Santee River for thousands of years.  The Santee River was a major trade route.  The Santee Mound is the largest ceremonial center found on the coastal plain.

Perhaps the mound’s greatest notoriety comes from its use as a British fort during the American Revolution. This outpost was built by the British and was at least 30 feet high. Gen. Francis Marion, the Swamp Fox, and Light Horse Harry Lee laid siege to the post April 15-23, 1781, by erecting a tower of logs under the cover of night enabling them to fire into the British stockade. This brought about the surrender of the fort cutting off the main British supply line to Camden, forcing Lord Rawdon to withdraw from that position. The Battle of Fort Watson is one of the murals featured on the Swamp Fox Murals Trail in Summerton, Paxville, Manning & Turbeville, I-95, Exit 108 to Exit 135. From an observation point at the top of Indian mound, visitors can get a panoramic view of Santee Cooper and the countryside.

Santee Indian Mound and Santee National Wildlife Refuge make a historic and adventurous place to visit for photography, nature study, hiking, biking and birding.

Mike Stroud’s site has some nice photos of the Wildlife refuge and the mound today, as well as a concept drawing of what the mound might have looked like previously.

While we need to know more about these mounds, and these people, archaeology and preservation much be dually weighed in that equation.  There is a nice article in the Post and Courier about the needs of both.

Hat tip to Stevie for sending info about this mound.


About Roberta Estes

Scientist, author, genetic genealogist. Documenting Native Heritage through contemporaneous records and DNA.
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