Etowah is the most intact Mississippian period site in the Southeast. Centuries ago, Native Americans constructed earthen mounds that are now being preserved at this designated site in Cartersville, Georgia. Although much of the history of Etowah has yet to be discovered, we know that these natives constructed wattle and daub huts based on the floor plans that were left behind.
In an effort to preserve this history, Friends and staff have been working to construct a 13th-century dwelling. With upright posts with woven green cane (wattle), walls are constructed and held together with a special “glue” (daub) made of Georgia red clay mixed with grass and water. The glue is then daubed to the wattle and the dwelling is formed. As cracking and shrinking take place, the hut requires some tender loving care and patching to maintain its formation.
As you can see, the clay, water, and grass make a sticky, heavy mixture and it's ready to go! For more information on Wattle and Daub hut construction, click here.
Along with the hut is a 3 Sisters Garden, typical for Native American times. The 3 Sisters refer to corn, beans and squash. Both the garden and the hut are wonderful features that help the site come alive during interpretative programming and self-guided tours. On the right, Jim Pugh, Friends of Etowah Board Secretary is checking the garden's squash production with Interpretive Ranger, Keith Bailey. To plant your own 3 Sisters Garden, click here for instructions from Cornell University.
This particular squash is called a scallop squash, or a "patty pan squash" and are the oldest known variety of squash grown in the Americas for food. Scallop squash are light green when they are young but turn white once they are mature and ready to eat! Their shape is occasionally compared to a flying saucer but don't let their unusual shape fool you! They can be quite tasty. Squash and a side of corn and beans and you have yourself a true American meal! Maybe consider checking out this recipe.
Take a look at your calendar and start planning your visit to Etowah! As you explore, consider what natives may have experienced or the work that they would have endured to survive. Of course many didn't live lives of luxury but they lived beautiful lives of simplicity. But don't take our word for it! Go find Ranger Keith and let him tell you all about it while you explore Georgia's history.