Cresap Mound, West Virginia Adena Mound & Earthworks — Giant Skeleton • Adena
By Dr. Greg Little
Portions of this article come from The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Native American Mounds & Earthworks.
The Creasp site is located 6.5 miles south of Moundville, WV along the Ohio River off Rt 2. The main mound was completely excavated (obliterated) in 1958 by Don Dragoo for the Carnegie Institute. Volume 37 of the Annals of the Carnegie Museum is a 315-page book detailing the results of this extensive excavation, which still serves as the definitive analysis of the Adena Culture. The mound dates to before 1000 BC. The mound was originally on land claimed by George Washington and was later owned by the Cresap family. It was a 19-foot high conical mound with a 70-foot diameter. For a time there were efforts made to preserve the site but a coal company gained ownership and allowed Dragoo to essentially obliterate the site using large machinery. It took 13 weeks to complete the excavation. Over 51 burials and thousands of artifacts were found. Several Adena Tablets were found buried with skeletal remains. Below the base of the mound Dragoo found over 10 pits dug into the surface. One was a large fire basin containing burned bones and several clay benches were arranged around several pits. There were 7 burials with skeletal remains found in these sub-platform pits formed into log-covered tombs. One of these skeletons was unusual and nearly intact except the skull had been burned. The remainder of this unusual skeleton was completely preserved and lying on its back with its legs bowed as if it was riding a horse. This particular skeleton, labeled B.54 in Pit F.28 in the above drawing made by Dragoo, was large. Dragoo reported, “This individual was of large proportions. When measured in the tomb his length was approximately 7.04 feet. All of the long bones were heavy and possessed marked eminences for the attachment of muscles.” Dragoo published a photo of the actual skeleton in his book so there is no doubt as to the authenticity of the find. However, it now illegal to republish photos of actual skeletons known to have links to Native Americans. The bowing of the legs of this large man might have a simple explanation. The pit in which it was found was not dug out to be long enough. By flexing and bowing the legs it fit the pre-dug tomb.
There has been considerable speculation about “giants” in the Americas during the mound building eras. There are hundreds of such reports and most of these giant reports are discounted by modern archaeologists as erroneous because early archaeologists supposedly did not correctly fit the skeletal remains together to make an accurate measurement. Recently I had an occasion to speak with an archaeologist about Dragoo’s find and was told that there definitely were some large Native Americans and this particular description they believe to be accurate. But these tall individuals were the exceptions and most of the other reports of giants are spurious. That is the official line, however, it is likely that this is another example of archaeology’s biased and flawed belief system.