First published in 1855 and long out of print, The Antiquities of Wisconsin remains invaluable as a detailed record of Wisconsin’s rich archaeological heritage of mounds and mound groups, many of which were later destroyed by farming and urban growth. Lapham was among the first scientists to produce evidence that the earthworks had been built by the ancestors of modern Native Americans, not some mythical "lost race," as was believed by many white authorities of the time. Modern researchers still use Lapham’s maps and descriptions to locate vestiges of sites that once existed, or to help reconstruct Wisconsin’s ancient cultural landscape. This edition includes a foreword by Wisconsin state archaeologist Robert A. Birmingham and an introduction by Robert P. Nurre, a Lapham scholar.
The largest prehistoric mound site in Georgia is located in modern-day Macon and is known as Ocmulgee. It was first recorded in August 1739 by General James Oglethorpe’s rangers during an expedition to the territory of the Lower Creeks. The botanist William Bartram wrote extensively of the ecology of the area during his visit in 1773, but the 1873 volume by Charles C. Jones, Antiquities of the Southern Indians, Particularly of the Georgia Tribes, was the first to treat the archaeological significance of the site.
Professional excavations began at Ocmulgee in 1933 under the auspices of the Smithsonian Institution, using Civil Works Administration labor. Investigations continued under a variety of sponsorships until December 1936, when the locality was formally named a national monument. Excavation of the mounds, village sites, earth lodge, and funeral mound revealed an occupation of the Macon Plateau spanning more than 7,000 years. The funeral mound was found to contain log tombs, bundles of disarticulated bones, flexed burials, and cremations. Grave goods included uniquely patterned copper sun disks that were found at only one other site in the Southeast—the Bessemer site in Alabama—so the two ceremonial centers were established as contemporaries.
In this classic work of archaeological research and analysis, Charles Fairbanks has not only offered a full treatment of the cultural development and lifeways of the builders of Ocmulgee but has also related them effectively to other known cultures of the prehistoric Southeast.
By the 14th century more than a dozen accretional burial mounds—reaching heights of 12 to 15 feet—marked the floodplains of interior Virginia. Today, none of these mounds built by the nearly forgotten Monacan Indians remain on the landscape, having been removed over the centuries by a variety of natural and cultural causes. This study uses what remains of the mounds—excavated from the 1890s to the 1980s— to gain a new understanding of the Monacans and to gauge their importance in the realm of the late prehistoric period in the Eastern Woodlands.
Based on osteological examinations of dozens of complete skeletons and thousands of isolated bones and bone fragments, this work constructs information on Monacan demography, diet, health, and mortuary ritual in the 10th through the 15th centuries. The results show an overall pattern of stability and local autonomy among the Late Woodland village societies of interior Virginia in which a mixture of maize farming and the collection of wild food resources were successful for more than 600 years.
This book—uniting biological and cultural aspects of the data for a holistic understanding of everyday life in the period—will be of interest to ethnohistorians, osteologists, bioarchaeologists, and anyone studying Late Woodland, Mississippian, and contact periods, as well as middle range societies, in the Eastern Woodlands.
Debra L. Gold is Associate Professor of Anthropology at St. Cloud State University.
"Debra Gold's book represents the first scientific, bioarchaeological study of the mound builder populations in central Virginia and is a welcomed addition to our understanding of health, subsistence, and mortuary practices among Native American groups in the eastern Woodlands."—Southeastern Archaeology
Edward Palmer's Arkansaw Mounds
Edited and preface by Marvin D. Jeter University of Alabama Press, 2010 Library of Congress E78.A8P35 2010 | Dewey Decimal 976.701
Normal0falsefalsefalseMicrosoftInternetExplorer4During the 1880s a massive scientific effort was launched by the Smithsonian Institution to discover who had built the prehistoric burial mounds found throughout the United States. Arkansaw Mounds tells the story of this exploration and of Edward Palmer, one of the nineteenth century’s greatest natural historians and archaeologists, who was recruited to lead the research project. Arkansas was unusually rich in prehistoric remains, especially mounds, and became a major focus of the study. Palmer and his team of researchers discovered that the mounds had been built by the ancestors of the historic North American Indians, shattering the then-popular theory that a lost non-Indian race had built them.
This facsimile edition of Moore's Georgia and South Carolina expeditions includes an extensive new introduction from Georgia's senior archaeologist.
This compilation of Clarence Bloomfield Moore's investigations along the rich coastal and river drainages of Georgia and South Carolina makes
available in a single volume valuable works published a century ago. By modern standards Moore's excavation techniques were crude, but his results were nothing less than spectacular. He recorded data with care, and much information can be learned from his works. In some cases his publications are the only documentation extant for sites that have since been destroyed. In one case, relic collectors had destroyed six mounds at Mason's Plantation—the largest Mississippian center in the Savannah River valley—by the time Moore visited the site in 1897.
Moore also documented prehistoric urn burials, a ritual widely practiced in eastern North America but more frequently on the Gulf Coastal Plain
of Alabama and coastal sites in Georgia and South Carolina. In the introduction, Lewis Larson discusses Moore's investigations within the framework of the current understanding of Georgia and South Carolina coastal archaeological chronology.
Indian Mounds of Wisconsin
Robert A. Birmingham and Amy L. Rosebrough University of Wisconsin Press, 2017 Library of Congress E78.W8B57 2017 | Dewey Decimal 977.501
More mounds were built by ancient Native Americans in Wisconsin than in any other region of North America—between 15,000 and 20,000, at least 4,000 of which remain today. Most impressive are the effigy mounds, huge earthworks sculpted in the shapes of thunderbirds, water panthers, and other forms, not found anywhere else in the world in such concentrations. This second edition is updated throughout, incorporating exciting new research and satellite imagery. Written for general readers, it offers a comprehensive overview of these intriguing earthworks.
Citing evidence from past excavations, ethnography, the traditions of present-day Native Americans in the Midwest, ground-penetrating radar and LIDAR imaging, and recent findings of other archaeologists, Robert A. Birmingham and Amy L. Rosebrough argue that effigy mound groups are cosmological maps that model belief systems and relations with the spirit world. The authors advocate for their preservation and emphasize that Native peoples consider the mounds sacred places.
This edition also includes an expanded list of public parks and preserves where mounds can be respectfully viewed, such as the Kingsley Bend mounds near Wisconsin Dells, an outstanding effigy group maintained by the Ho-Chunk Nation, and the Man Mound Park near Baraboo, the only extant human-shaped effigy mound in the world.
C. B. Moore's investigations of the Lower Mississippi Valley are here collected in a one-volume facsimile edition.
Like many other natural scientists from the Victorian era, Clarence Bloomfield Moore (1852-1917) lived several lives—adventurer, paper company executive, archaeologist; however, Moore is chiefly remembered for the twenty-five years he spent investigating and documenting archaeological sites along every navigable waterway in the southeastern United States.
Moore's surveys were and are impressive, and he earned lasting respect from archaeological researchers in the South by publishing, mostly at his own expense, all of the data he recovered. This volume includes works that describe data from Moore's expeditions that were key to the early recognition and preservation of major archaeological sites—Toltec, Parkin, Mound City, and Wicklife, among them—in the lower Mississippi River Valley. This and companion volumes stand today as the defining database for every area in which he worked.
The definition of the regional limits of chiefly influence during the Mississippian period in the southeastern United States remains unresolved. In the Gulf Coastal Plain between the Mississippi and Black Warrior rivers, some studies have explored the role that interpolity interactions played in influencing a polity’s social and political complexity through time. It has been argued that the larger, more complex polities were able to preempt the development of more complex political structures among the smaller polities.
Using research at the Pevey (22Lw510) and Lowe-Steen (22Lw511) mound sites on the Pearl River in Lawrence County, Mississippi, this book explores the social and political mechanisms by which these polities may have interacted with each other and the geographic limit to the effects of inter-polity competition. The Pevey site is a nine-mound Mississippian site and Lowe-Steen is a two-mound site located 18 kilometers to the north of Pevey. These sites provide a “missing link” of sorts to explore questions about inter-polity interactions because of their centrality to the study region and their unusual size. By filling a void in the regional dataset, this study allows us to better understand the capacity of the largest polities to negatively effect the political development of their smaller neighbors.
The Mound Builders
Robert Silverberg Ohio University Press, 1986 Library of Congress E73.S572 1986 | Dewey Decimal 973.1
In Illinois, the one-hundred-foot Cahokia Mound spreads impressively across sixteen acres, and as many as ten thousand more mounds dot the Ohio River Valley alone. The Mound Builders traces the speculation surrounding these monuments and the scientific excavations which uncovered the history and culture of the ancient Americans who built them.
The mounds were constructed for religious and secular purposes some time between 1000 B.C. and 1000 A.D., and they have prompted curiosity and speculation from very early times. European settlers found them evidence of some ancient and glorious people. Even as eminent an American as Thomas Jefferson joined the controversy, though his conclusions—that the mounds were actually cemeteries of ancient Indians—remained unpopular for nearly a century.
Only in the late 19th century, as Smithsonian Institution investigators developed careful methodologies and reliable records, did the period of scientific investigation of the mounds and their builders begin. Silverberg follows these excavations and then recounts the story they revealed of the origins, development, and demise of the mound builder culture.
How social and political power was wielded in order to build Moundville
This work is a state-of-the-art, data-rich study of excavations undertaken at the Moundville site in west central Alabama, one of the largest and most complex of the mound sites of pre-contact North America. Despite the site's importance and sustained attention by researchers, until now it has lacked a comprehensive analysis of its modern excavations. Richly documented by maps, artifact photo-graphs, profiles of strata, and inventories of materials found, the present work explores one expression of social complexity; the significance of Moundville’s monumental architecture, including its earthen mounds; the pole-frame architecture that once occupied the summits of these mounds; and the associated middens that reveal the culture of Moundville’s elites.
This book supplies a survey of important materials recovered in more than a decade of recent excavations of seven mounds and related areas under the author’s direction, as part of a long-term archaeological project consisting of new field work at the Mississippian political and ceremonial center of Moundville.
Visitors to Moundville are immediately impressed with its monumentality. The expansiveness and grandness of that landscape are, of course, deliberate features that have a story to tell and this archaeological project reveals Moundville’s monumentality and its significance to the people whose capital town it was.
Exactly how the social and political power symbolized by mound building was distributed is a question central to this work. It seems critical to ask to what extent this monumental landscape was the product of a chief’s ability to recruit and direct the labor of large groups of political subordinates, most of whom were presumably non-kin. At the onset of the present project, speculations regarding the paired orders of mounds and the timing of the formal structuring of space at Moundville were already suggested but were in need of further testing, confirmation, and refinement. The work reported in this volume is largely devoted to filling in such evidence and refining those initial insights. An excellent chapter by H. Edwin Jackson and Susan L. Scott, "Zooarchaeology of Mounds Q, G, E, F, and R," compliments this research.
Henry Clyde Shetrone; with a new introduction by Bradley T. Lepper University of Alabama Press, 2004 Library of Congress E73.S55 2004 | Dewey Decimal 977.01
A Dan Josselyn Memorial Publication
A classic resource on early knowledge of prehistoric mounds and the peoples who constructed them in the eastern United States.
With this accessible volume, Henry Clyde Shetrone made available to general readers the archaeological research data and conclusions concerning the ancient mounds and earthworks that dot the landscape of eastern North America. Dismissing popularly held theories of mysterious giants who built these structures, he explained that their purposes were defensive and ceremonial, that they had been used for habitation, burial, and worship. Their builders were antecedents of the native peoples of present-day America and had been skilled artisans and engineers with successful agricultural practices and structured leadership.
Twenty chapters discuss aspects of mound-builder cultures: quarrying of flint and obsidian for knapping into points; mining of copper and iron and its fashioning into tools and ceremonial objects; spinning and weaving materials and methods; smoking customs; carving of calumets and their use in ceremony; freshwater pearls and other items for body ornamentation; and the use of stone burial vaults, cremation basins, and concepts of an afterlife. Data is presented from excavations ranging broadly from Massachusetts to Florida and from Texas to North Dakota.
As Bradley Lepper points out in his new introduction, "The Mound-Builders is a testament to Shetrone's success at working towards 'correlation and systematization' of data, as well as public education. . . . Shetrone was no armchair popularizer. His work was based on years of excavation and first-hand familiarity with much of the data. His popularizations [still] echo with the ring of the shovel and trowel in gravelly soil."
Pinson Mounds: Middle Woodland Ceremonialism in the Midsouth is a comprehensive overview and reinterpretation of the largest Middle Woodland mound complex in the Southeast. Located in west Tennessee about ten miles south of Jackson, the Pinson Mounds complex includes at least thirteen mounds, a geometric earthen embankment, and contemporary short-term occupation areas within an area of about four hundred acres. A unique feature of Pinson Mounds is the presence of five large, rectangular platform mounds from eight to seventy-two feet in height. Around A.D. 100, Pinson Mounds was a pilgrimage center that drew visitors from well beyond the local population and accommodated many distinct cultural groups and people of varied social stations. Stylistically nonlocal ceramics have been found in virtually every excavated locality, all together representing a large portion of the Southeast. Along with an overview of this important and unique mound complex, Pinson Mounds also provides a reassessment of roughly contemporary centers in the greater Midsouth and Lower Mississippi Valley and challenges past interpretations of the Hopewell phenomenon in the region.
Edited by Mark A. Rees and Patrick Livingood, with a preface by Stephen Williams University of Alabama Press, 2006 Library of Congress E99.P635P57 2007 | Dewey Decimal 976.01
First major work to deal solely with the Plaquemine societies.
Plaquemine, Louisiana, about 10 miles south of Baton Rouge on the banks of the Mississippi River, seems an unassuming southern community for which to designate an entire culture. Archaeological research conducted in the region between 1938 and 1941, however, revealed distinctive cultural materials that provided the basis for distinguishing a unique cultural manifestation in the Lower Mississippi Valley. Plaquemine was first cited in the archaeological literature by James Ford and Gordon Willey in their 1941 synthesis of eastern U.S. prehistory.
Lower Valley researchers have subsequently grappled with where to place this culture in the local chronology based on its ceramics, earthen mounds, and habitations. Plaquemine cultural materials share some characteristics with other local cultures but differ significantly from Coles Creek and Mississippian
cultures of the Southeast. Plaquemine has consequently received the dubious distinction of being defined by the characteristics it lacks, rather than by those it possesses.
The current volume brings together eleven leading scholars devoted to shedding new light on Plaquemine and providing a clearer understanding of its relationship to other Native American cultures. The authors provide a thorough yet focused review of previous research, recent revelations, and directions for future research. They present pertinent new data on cultural variability and connections in the Lower Mississippi Valley and interpret the implications for similar cultures and cultural relationships. This volume finally places Plaquemine on the map, incontrovertibly demonstrating the accomplishments and importance of Plaquemine peoples in the long history of native North America.
Valuable, original, and difficult-to-find resources on Choctaw history and culture.
This important book comprises two articles that appeared in the 1904 and 1906 volumes of Publications of the Mississippi Historical Society. In "Life of Apushimataha," Gideon Lincecum tells the story of Choctaw chief Pushmataha, who was born in Mississippi in 1764. A fearless warrior, his name literally means "one whose tomahawk is fatal in war or hunting." As a charismatic leader, his foresight in making an alliance with General Andrew Jackson brought the Choctaws into war with the Creek Nation and into the War of 1812 but served to their benefit for many years with the United States government. In 1824, Pushmataha traveled to Washington, D.C., to negotiate the Treaty of Doak's Stand as pressure grew for Choctaw removal to Oklahoma Territory, but he fell ill and died there. He was buried with full military honors in the Congressional Cemetery at Arlington.
In "Choctaw Traditions about Their Settlement in Mississippi and the Origin of Their Mounds," Lincecum translates a portion of the Skukhaanumpula—the traditional history of the tribe, which was related to him verbally by Chata Immataha, "the oldest man in the world, a man that knew everything." It explains how and why the sacred Nanih Waya mound was erected and how the Choctaws formed new towns, and it describes the structure of leadership roles in their society.
Traces the sources of power and large-scale organization of prehistoric peoples among Archaic societies.
By focusing on the first instances of mound building, pottery making, fancy polished stone and bone, as well as specialized chipped stone, artifacts, and their widespread exchange, this book explores the sources of power and organization among Archaic societies. It investigates the origins of these technologies and their effects on long-term (evolutionary) and short-term (historical) change.
The characteristics of first origins in social complexity belong to 5,000- to 6,000-year-old Archaic groups who inhabited the southeastern United States. In Signs of Power, regional specialists identify the conditions, causes, and consequences that define organization and social complexity in societies. Often termed "big mound power," these considerations include the role of demography, kinship, and ecology in sociocultural change; the meaning of geometry and design in sacred groupings; the degree of advancement in stone tool technologies; and differentials in shell ring sizes that reflect social inequality.
In the 1940s, Paul F. Titterington, a doctor and avocational archaeologist, excavated several prehistoric burial mounds in Calhoun County, Illinois. He did not publish the results of his research, but he did donate his notebooks, photographs, and artifact collection to the University of Michigan in 1955. In this report, David Braun and James Griffin present Titterington’s research.
Between A.D. 700 and 1100 Native Americans built more effigy mounds in Wisconsin than anywhere else in North America, with an estimated 1,300 mounds—including the world’s largest known bird effigy—at the center of effigy-building culture in and around Madison, Wisconsin. These huge earthworks, sculpted in the shape of birds, mammals, and other figures, have aroused curiosity for generations and together comprise a vast effigy mound ceremonial landscape. Farming and industrialization destroyed most of these mounds, leaving the mysteries of who built them and why they were made. The remaining mounds are protected today and many can be visited. explores the cultural, historical, and ceremonial meanings of the mounds in an informative, abundantly illustrated book and guide.
The Steuben Village sits on the bank of the Illinois River in Marshall County, Illinois. Nearby are nine burial mounds. In 1955 and 1956, researchers dug five test pits in the village and excavated several of the mounds. In addition to burials, the crew found thousands of artifacts, including pottery, chipped and ground stone tools, and items made from copper, bone, and shell. The artifacts and radiocarbon dates indicate two Hopewell occupations, the earliest about 2,000 years ago.
Based on recent archaeological interpretation, this standards-based resource enriches material covered in Native People of Wisconsin. Water Panthers, Bears, and Thunderbirds introduces young readers to effigy mound sites in five southern Wisconsin counties. Suggested activities encourage students to graph, compare, contrast, and analyze the ways these mound groups vary from county to county.