The presence of early Native Americans in present-day Georgia is evidenced by the existence of ceremonial mounds that had been built by people of the Mississippian culture or Mound Builders.
The Etowah Indian Mounds State Historic Site, located south of Cartersville, is the best preserved example of this culture.
At the time of European settlement, native occupants included the Creeks in the southern areas and the Cherokee in the north. The numbers of natives declined sharply following the 1500s. Disease more than warfare accounted for the decimation of the population.