mound, prehistoric earthwork erected over a burial place as a memorial or landmark, a defensive embankment, or a site for ceremonial or religious rites. Such structures are found in many parts of the world, but the name is applied in particular to those of North America, ascribed to a people known as Mound Builders. Sometimes the term is also applied to heaps of community refuse, as in shell mound.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.