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Cotiga Mound, a National Register of Historic Places site, was a prehistoric burial mound located near the Tug Fork in Mingo County. An exploratory excavation by the West Virginia Geological and Economic Survey in the late 1970s confirmed that it was a man-made feature. The mound was excavated in its entirety in 1991–92 by GAI Consultants and the sub-mound was excavated by Robert D. Wall. The mound, which was 11 feet high and 90 feet in diameter at the time of excavation, was lost to the construction of Appalachian Corridor G, U.S. 119.

Based on structural evidence and radiocarbon dates, Cotiga Mound was built in several distinct episodes between 205 B.C. and A.D. 75, with much of its construction and use occurring around 102 B.C. It was roughly contemporaneous with other Early to Middle Woodland mounds in West Virginia and Kentucky identified as Adena, including the mounds at Moundsville and South Charleston.

The Cotiga Mound contained the remains of between seven and 18 cremated individuals ranging from infants to older adults. Grave goods and associated artifacts included modified animal bone, stone tools, mica, and three copper bracelets. The remains of at least two circular paired-post structures were identified beneath the mound. Evidence suggests they were built a short time before the mound construction, and were probably used for mortuary rituals and ceremonies, rather than as houses.

In accordance with an agreement between the West Virginia Department of Transportation and the West Virginia Committee on Native North American Archaeological and Burial Policies, all of the human remains and directly associated grave goods from Cotiga Mound were reburied. A lawsuit filed by the Council for West Virginia Archaeology and other interested parties challenging the agreement was not successful. This was the first time in West Virginia that Native American remains recovered from a state and federally funded project were reburied.

This Article was written by C. Michael Anslinger

Last Revised on November 10, 2023

Cite This Article

Anslinger, C. Michael "Cotiga Mound." e-WV: The West Virginia Encyclopedia. 10 November 2023. Web. 21 April 2024.


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