Old Trace, Mississippi

Old Trace, Natchez Trace Parkway, MS

The Natchez Trace Parkway is a 444-mile drive that stretches through Mississippi, Alabama and Tennessee – linking Nashville, TN, to Natchez, MS. The current roadway mainly follows the path of the Old Natchez Trace, which was a combination of a wilderness road, horse trail and foot path. One of most frequently used sections of the trail was known as Natchez or Chickasaw Trail.

It was regularly used throughout the late 1700s and early 1800s as a commercial road between the East and the Southwest and Mississippi River, but it had been animal and Native American trail for thousands of years. The original wilderness road ran through Old Town, MS, which was an area settled due to the abundance of bison and water. This section is known as the Old Natchez Trace.

Due the difficulty of navigating the Natchez Trace, in 1800, the U.S. Congress created legislation to create a major road that would allow for easier travel between Nashville and Natchez. “The Government Road” was completed in 1802, and this road linked Nashville with the original Trace.

Historical Marker Inscription

Two portions of a nearly 200 year old wilderness road, the Old Natchez Trace, are preserved here. Nearly 500 miles long, it grew from Indian trails to a national road and communications link between the Old Southwest and the United States to the northeast.

A short 5-minute loop walk to your left lets you see both sections and lets you stroll down a steeply eroded, sunken part of the Old Natchez Trace.

Location

Natchez Trace Parkway, Ridgeland, MS 39157, United States

32° 25′ 28.758″ N, 90° 5′ 20.440″ W

Boyd Site, Natchez Trace, Mississippi

Boyd Site, Natchez Trace, Mississippi

While most burial mounds in Mississippi are dated to around 100 B.C. to 400 B.C. (the Middle Woodland period), the six burial mounds at Boyd Site date to around 800 to 1100 A.D. (the Late Woodland and Early Mississippian periods).

In 1964, the National Park Service excavated some of the mounds. One of the mounds appears to be 100 feet long, but is actually 3 different mounds. Within these 3 mounds, 41 burials were found.

While few artifacts were discovered within burial sites, the pottery that was discovered possibly indicate that the mounds were created in two different phases: one within the Late Woodland period and another within the Mississippian period.

Historical Marker Inscription

Archaeologists tell us that there was a house here sometime around 500 A.D. and that the pottery found in the mounds was made before 700 A.D. Likely, the population was continuous over centuries with customs being handed from generation to generation, relying on field, forest, and stream for food. The simple social system was probably based on family and close relatives.

United States Department of the Interior

National Park Service

Location

The mounds are located approximately 6 miles from I-55 on the Natchez Trace Parkway, Madison, MS 39110

37° 27′ 11.502″ N, 90° 4′ 5.000″ W