I was recently in west Tennessee for a funeral, and while there we visited the Pinson Mounds State Archeological Area, near Jackson. These "Indian mounds" were constructed by the people archeologists refer to as the Hopewell culture around two thousand years ago. One mound is 72 feet tall, the second highest in the U.S.
Among all the interesting thoughts I had, three stood out.
First, the mysterious mound group is one of the many examples of tall structures built by the people dispersed from Babel. Saul's mound (the 72 foot one) has four projecting in the four cardinal directions. Other mounds are aligned with the summer solstice and the equinox, leading archeologists to believe that, like Babel before it, Saul's mound was probably a monument "unto heaven", built by people who worshipped the creation more than the creator. Despite the consequences for the first tower, it seems like nobody could ever get hat idea out of their head.
Second, these people tried so hard to leave their mark on the world. Some of the smaller mounds are actually giant grave markers. All of the mounds are impressive, but all the work (millions of basketloads of dirt went into Saul's mound alone) was in vain. The people that built them died, and no one knows what they even called themselves. The grave mounds might still be visible, but no one knows the name of anyone buried in them. It reminds me of my favorite poem, Shelley's Ozymandias: "Look on my works, ye mighty, and despair!" The treasures they left on earth aren't doing the Hopewells any good now.
Third, the Hopewell culture is called a lost civilization. Whatever we do, they're still going to be lost. Thankfully, that's not the case with all "lost" civilizations. When we look around today, it isn't hard to find somebody--civilized or not--who is lost. They may not know it, but they're doing the same things the Hopewell did: sinning. However, it is not God's will that any should perish (like the mound-builders) but that all should have eternal life. And we're talking about real life, not just an earthly memorial or some reincarnation, but life with the creator of all life, life everlasting. That's better than any mound of dirt anybody ever came up with.