I am currently working on a story that involves archeological hoaxes and the Mound Builder myth. One research book is Mound Builders of Ancient America, by SF's own Robert Silverberg. He has written several pleasing historical works during his career, and this one is complete, well-researched, and well-written.
One thing that strikes me is the cover illustration. which is identified as "An American Battle Mound" from a book called Traditions of De-coo-dah, by William Pidgeon (1858), an imaginative reconstruction of some ancient battle.
The thing that strikes me about the picture, though, is the two guys in front. While there is a desperate battle going on, they've decided to have a friendly little chat.
I guess the artist needed a still point in the foreground to point up the frenzied activity in back. Or maybe the whole thing was less of a deal than it might seem.
Mound Builder myth has some relation to the Book of Mormon, and there is an illustration in the standard edition of that book which struck me in high school, and which I just looked up. It involves one of those many prophets throughout both myth and history who piss people off. Real prophets always do, you know, so be careful of anyone who claims to be a prophet, either in life or in fiction, who does not stimulate rage and opposition in otherwise placid people.
The Nephite inhabitants of this town are trying to get Samuel the Lamanite to just shut up.
But you know what's interesting? Not only did the Nephites build a nice staircase up to their parapet, they made sure it had an OSHA-approved guard rail.
Enough poking fun. I have to get back to work.