Yes, there is a Transylvania, Louisiana.  And there are ancient mounds there, deeply embedded in the farmland.  At certain times of the year, like now, they are lost in mazes of corn, unable to even be seen from the road.

This site, just west of the Mississippi River, may have originally contained as many as 12 mounds that formed 2 plazas.  During a study in 2000, only 6 of those mounds remained.  People may have been occupying the site as early as AD 700-1200.  The largest mound is now approximately 34 feet high and is nearly obscured by trees and brush.

While I was there in July, in 100+ degree heat, the owner, Mr. Clement, sat in his truck in the noonday sun, leaned out the window and told me about his attempt to once build a road to the top.  As he rode his tractor, clearing the path, he noticed a bleached white mussel shell rise to the top of the dirt.  Then another.  He got down and inspected them, quickly realizing they weren’t mussel shells.  He dug around a bit until he found an intact skeleton, sitting “just like this” (his arms pulled in tight to his sides).  He said he covered it up, drove his tractor off the mound and has left it alone ever since.

Transylvania Mound A, a burial mound.

Thanks to Mr. Clement for allowing me to photograph the mounds on his property.  And for taking the time to tell me stories about them.

About Jenny Ellerbe

I am a photographer living, and working, in northeastern Louisiana.
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1 Response to Transylvania

  1. Max Cox says:

    Really love this shot. My favorite so far. Can’t wait to see what’s next.

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