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Archaeology of the Lower Muskogee Creek Indians, 1715-1836

Written by Howard Thomas Foster, with contributions from Mary Theresa Bonhage-Fr

Publication Year: 2007

The Muskogee Indians who lived along the lower Chattahoochee and Flint River watersheds had, and continue to have, a profound influence on the development of the southeastern United States, especially during the historic period (circa 1540–1836). Our knowledge of that culture is limited to what we can learn from their descendants and from archaeological and historical sources.
Combining historical documents and archaeological research on all known Lower Muskogee Creek sites, Thomas Foster has accurately pinpointed town locations discussed in the literature and reported in contemporary Creek oral histories. In so doing, this volume synthesizes the archaeological diversity and variation within the Lower Creek Indians between 1715 and 1836. The book is a study of archaeological methods because it analyzes the temporal and geographic variation within a single archaeological phase and the biases of that archaeological data. Foster's research segregates the variation between Lower Creek Indian towns through a regional and direct historic approach. Consequently, he is able to discern the unique differences between individual Creek Indian towns. 
Foster argues that the study of Creek Indian history should be at the level of towns instead of archaeological phases and that there is significant continuity between the culture of the Historic Period Indians and the Prehistoric and Protohistoric peoples.
H. Thomas Foster II, a specialist in archaeology and human ecology, is Lecturer of Anthropology at Northern Kentucky University and editor ofThe Collected Works of Benjamin Hawkins, 1796–1810Mary Theresa Bonhage-Freund is a specialist in archaeobotanical analysis at Alma College. Lisa O'Steen is a specialist in zooarchaeological analysis at Wildcat Ridge, Watkinsville, Georgia.

Published by: The University of Alabama Press


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List of Figures

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pp. ix-xii

List of Tables

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pp. xiii-xiv

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pp. xv-xx

The purpose of this book is to investigate the diversity of the people referred to as the Muskogee (Mask

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pp. xxi-xxii

This book builds on and summarizes the contributions of decades of research, and the first acknowledgments should go to the individuals who have worked in the Lower Chattahoochee for decades and on whose work I have depended. A few of these individuals are Frank Schnell, Jr., Dan Elliot, Dean Wood, Chad Braley, Vernon J. Knight, Tim Mistovich, and Paul Jackson. Dean Wood, Southern Research, Frank Schnell, Jr., Jerald Ledbetter, and Chris Hamilton gave me...

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Notes on Orthography and Pronunciation

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p. xxiii

In this book, I have defaulted to spellings of native words, such as the proper names of talwas, to those used by Benjamin Hawkins in the late eighteenth century (Foster 2003a). I used his spellings because he lived among and studied the language of the Creek Indians during the time with which this book deals. He wrote native words in a syllabic form in an attempt to preserve...

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1. Ethnohistoric Context

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pp. 1-25

The Creek Indians were an amalgam of diverse people who lived in southeastern North America during the historic period (circa 1540–1836). The core population of the Creek Indians were Maskókî (Muscogee, Muskogee, Muskhogee, Creek) speakers, but it also included Hitchiti, Euchee, Natchez, and Alabama speakers (Braund 1993; Brown 1989; Hahn 2004:242–243; Hann 1988, 1996; Harper...

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2. Environmental Context

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pp. 26-36

The environmental context of the Mask

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3. History of Archaeological Investigations

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pp. 37-71

There has not been a major summary of the archaeology of post–Yamassee War (circa 1715) Lower Creek Indians since Huscher’s unpublished Lower Creek summary (1959). The archaeological classification of post–Yamassee War Indian sites is called the Lawson Field phase (Foster 2004d; Knight 1994b:189; Knight and Mistovich 1984; Schnell 1990, 1998; Willey and Sears 1952), which spans 1715–1836. The history of the definition of that phase will be described in detail below. Recently John Worth provided the most thorough synthesis...

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4. Pottery

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pp. 72-101

For a number of reasons, pottery has become the most studied Indian artifact type, and the pottery of the Lower Creek Indians is no exception. Pottery is related to and reflects the subsistence economy, which is an important cultural analytical unit. In addition, it is usually well preserved and is assumed to be time sensitive, two practical characteristics that are significant reasons it is one...

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5. Architecture

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pp. 102-135

Architecture reflects social space. It reflects public and private areas and household organization. It can reflect gender roles and changes in society. Historians and archaeologists have argued that changes in Mask

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6. Botanical Remains

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pp. 136-193

In this chapter I summarize and interpret the archaeobotanical remains that have been reported from Creek Indian archaeological sites. Since plant remains can also contribute to our understanding of the paleoenvironment, some of these results are discussed in Chapter 2. The paleoethnobotanical analysis is based exclusively on macroplant remains that are interpreted in conjunction...

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7. Animal Remains

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pp. 194-255

Prior to contact with Europeans during the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, Native Americans in Georgia subsisted primarily on deer, turtles, and turkeys. Other native wild mammals and birds, fish, and shellfish supplemented the diet. There is no archaeological evidence of diet among the Lower Creek in the seventeenth or early eighteenth century, although historical accounts of the...

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8. Conclusion

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pp. 256-266

Owing to the amount of research on Creek Indian sites over the last few decades, archaeologists are beginning to discern patterns and can measure and characterize variation among the archaeological sites. Now that we have a relatively comprehensive data set, we should reevaluate our archaeological models, our metrics of material culture, by comparing archaeological and historical...


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pp. 267-288


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pp. 289-292

E-ISBN-13: 9780817381332
Print-ISBN-13: 9780817353650

Publication Year: 2007

OCLC Number: 209106862
MUSE Marc Record: Download for Archaeology of the Lower Muskogee Creek Indians, 1715-1836

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Subject Headings

  • Creek Indians -- Material culture -- Chattahoochee River Valley.
  • Excavations (Archaeology) -- Chattahoochee River Valley.
  • Chattahoochee River Valley -- Antiquities.
  • Creek Indians -- Chattahoochee River Valley -- Antiquities.
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