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Archaeology of the Moundville Chiefdom

Chronology, Content, Contest

Edited by Vernon J. Knight and Vincas P. Steponaitis, with foreword by Chistophe

Publication Year: 2007

At its height the Moundville ceremonial center was a densely occupied town of approximately 1,000 residents, with at least 29 earthen mounds surrounding a central plaza. Today, Moundville is not only one the largest and best-preserved Mississippian sites in the United States, but also one of the most intensively studied. This volume brings together nine Moundville specialists who trace the site’s evolution and eventual decline.

Published by: The University of Alabama Press


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pp. v-vi

List of Figures

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pp. vii-viii

List of Tables

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pp. ix-x

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pp. xi-xvii

MY ASSOCIATION WITH Vernon James Knight Jr., Vincas Steponaitis, and a score of other scholars who have worked at Moundville has been an unalloyed privilege and pleasure that has endured for almost 30 years. I am honored that Professors Knight and Steponaitis and our colleagues asked me to contribute this foreword. ...

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Preface to the New Edition

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pp. xix-xxiii

AT THIS WRITING, thirteen years have passed since the 1993 Society for American Archaeology symposium that spawned the papers included in this volume. That symposium represented a significant break with previous syntheses of Moundville prehistory. ...

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1. A New History of Moundville

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pp. 1-25

WITHIN THE LAST DECADE there have been several advances in our understanding of the specifics of Moundville's developmental history. For example, critical segments of the regional chronology have been refined. Differences between early and late Moundville I phase communities have come into sharper focus. ...

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2. Population Trends at Moundville

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pp. 26-43

AT MOUNDVILLE, MOST MIDDEN DEPOSITS date to the Moundville I phase, but the vast majority of burials date to the Moundville II and III phases. Relative abundances of sherds suggest that Moundville's resident population peaked between AD 1050 and 1300 and then precipitously declined. ...

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3. Moundville as a Diagrammatic Ceremonial Center

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pp. 44-62

SOME ETHNOGRAPHICALLY DOCUMENTED ceremonial centers have spatial layouts that are diagrammatic of basic aspects of social organization. The Moundville site shows regularities in its layout that suggest that its plan is a sociogram. ...

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4. Domestic Life on the Northwest Riverbank at Moundville

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pp. 63-101

OUR DEPICTIONS OF MOUNDVILLE tend to emphasize glamorous political, economic, and ritual activities. Considerably less has been said about mundane domestic activities. Recent excavations on the riverbank on the northwest edge of Moundville uncovered residential deposits dating to the Moundville I phase (AD 1050-1250). ...

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5. Of Time and the River: Perspectives on Health during the Moundville Chiefdom

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pp. 102-119

A PREVIOUS SYNCHRONIC STUDY of elite and nonelite burials from Moundville indicated that minor variations in adult stature, childhood stress, dental health, trauma, and infectious disease owed more to age and sex than to differences in ranked status. ...

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6. Human Subsistence at Moundville: The Stable-Isotope Data

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pp. 120-132

STABLE CARBON AND NITROGEN ISOTOPE analyses of approximately 2 5 0 human, animal, and maize samples indicate changes in human subsistence strategies during occupation at pre-Contact Moundville in Alabama. Data suggest increased maize use between Moundville I and the subsequent Moundville II phase. ...

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7. Outlying Sites within the Moundville Chiefdom

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pp. 133-166

THE MOUNDVILLE CHIEFDOM consisted not just of the people living at the political center at Moundville but also of the population living at outlying mound and nonmound sites. Archaeological survey and test excavations at outlying sites during the past twenty years have considerably improved our knowledge of the chronology, geographic distribution, size, and social composition of these outlying sites and of the kinds of activities that were undertaken at them. ...

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8. The Oliver Site and Early Moundville I Phase Economic Organization

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pp. 167-182

LITTLE IS KNOWN about the economic relationship between Early Mississippian Moundville phase populations (AD 1050- I 150). Various classes of material recovered from midden deposits at the Oliver site (1Tu459), an early Moundville I phase farmstead, are used to examine the relationships between outlying farmsteads, single-mound centers, and the emerging regional center of Moundville. ...


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pp. 183-198


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pp. 199-203

E-ISBN-13: 9780817383138
Print-ISBN-13: 9780817354213

Publication Year: 2007

OCLC Number: 794701493
MUSE Marc Record: Download for Archaeology of the Moundville Chiefdom

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Subject Headings

  • Moundville Archaeological Park (Moundville, Ala.).
  • Chiefdoms -- Alabama -- Black Warrior River Valley.
  • Indian pottery -- Arizona -- San Pedro River Valley.
  • Social archaeology -- Alabama -- Black Warrior River Valley.
  • Black Warrior River Valley (Ala.) -- Antiquities.
  • Mississippian culture -- Alabama -- Black Warrior River Valley.
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