Emerald Mound was the product of a complex society organized to serve and sustain the welfare of its people beginning eight centuries ago. Life revolved around family relationships and well understood rules. An elite family, the Suns, held special status as royalty, and the Great Sun was the highest ranked of all. Although aligned with a deity, the Great Sun's power rose or fell with the people's quality of life. Tribal prosperity rested on pooled resources and wise leadership. The elite not only played a ceremonial role in their layered society, they controlled surplus corn, which they shared in times of need. Only powerful leaders could have mustered and inspired the workforce needed for the years of labor that produced Emerald Mound.In 1758, French naturalist Antoine Le Page du Pratz published his firsthand account of life among the Natchez Indians. This sketch shows the Great Sun, the man Du Pratz called "the sovereign of the nation." The Natchez people, whose ancestors built this mound, have continued cultural traditions from Emerald Mound's time.