A Pensacola Culture Site in South Alabama
Publication Year: 2003
Published by: The University of Alabama Press
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I found it difficult to resist the editor’s invitation to write a foreword to this volume. It was not merely because I was one of the two discussants to the SEAC symposium at which the original field reports were presented, and it was certainly not because, with uncharacteristic exaggeration, the editor opined I might be the oldest archaeologist yet alive to have visited the Bottle Creek site (“see Bottle Creek and die”). It is because over the ...
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This volume grew out of a symposium that was presented at the 51st Annual Meeting of the Southeastern Archaeological Conference in Knoxville, Tennessee, in 1995. The seeds for this symposium were sown in 1932 when David L. DeJarnette of the Alabama Museum of Natural History began a project at the Bottle Creek site (1Ba2), deep in the heart of the Mobile-...
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In the Preface of Brown and Fuller (1993a) I described my first visit to the Bottle Creek site. Having spent most of the day lost in the swamp, it might seem somewhat curious why I would have ever considered returning to the site to lead a project. The logistics of running a dig at Bottle Creek is something just shy of a nightmare, and yet it has been worth it. The site con-...
1. Introduction to the Bottle Creek Site
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The Bottle Creek site (1Ba2) is located in the Mobile-Tensaw Delta, Baldwin County, Alabama. This multi-mound Pensacola culture site was erected on the northern end of Mound Island, sandwiched between Middle River and Bottle Creek. David L. DeJarnette of the Alabama Museum of Natural History conducted preliminary investigations in 1932 and this museum has ...
2. Out of the Moundville Shadow: The Origin and Evolution of Pensacola Culture
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Since being severed from Fort Walton, Pensacola culture has gained some independence as a coastal Mississippian variant. From the beginning, geographical continuities and general similarities in ceramic styles suggested a relationship to Moundville culture. But just how “Moundvillian” is Pensacola? Recent research at the Bottle Creek site indicates a rather sudden ...
3. A Proposed Construction Sequence of the Mound B Terrace at Bottle Creek
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Mound B is the second tallest and second largest earthwork at the Bottle Creek site (Figure 1.3). Several general observations have led to the hypothesis that Mound B served a special role in the religious and social lives of people in Pensacola society. First, the builders of the mound positioned it strategically to form the western border of a large plaza (Brown 1994:1–4; ...
4. Historic Aboriginal Reuse of a Mississippian Mound, Mound L at Bottle Creek
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In 1991 the Gulf Coast Survey conducted test excavations on the summit of Mound L at the Bottle Creek site (Figure 1.3). Brown and Fuller (1993b) excavated two 1 × 2 m units that contained numerous overlapping features, to a depth of more than 2 m. This work indicated the presence of several superimposed structures and details on mound construction (Figures 4.1–...
5. Food Plant Remains from Excavations in Mounds A, B, C, D, and L at Bottle Creek
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The archaeobotanical analyses of the Bottle Creek materials were designed to investigate how the people who lived at the site procured and produced plant foods. Specifically, our goal was to collect data that could be used to determine what plant resources the inhabitants chose to use, to assess the relative importance of cultivated and wild plants in their diets, and to ...
6. The Use of Plants in Mound-Related Activities at Bottle Creek and Moundville
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Bottle Creek, located in the Mobile Delta, and Moundville, located in the Black Warrior Valley of Alabama, are the two largest Mississippian sites in Alabama (Figure 6.1). As discussed by Fuller (Chapter 2), ceramics recovered from the two sites suggest interaction and exchange between the polities, although neither community seems to have been under the direct ...
7. Zooarchaeological Remains from Bottle Creek
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Archaeologists have known of the Bottle Creek site for more than a century, but until the current project there has been very little information on the diet of its people. In addition to its abundance of artifacts and plant food resources, Bottle Creek contains a dense concentration of zooarchaeological remains from subsistence activities. These animal remains present ...
8. A Functional Comparison of Pottery Vessel Shapes from Bottle Creek
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In this chapter I explore the relationship between the central group of mounds and the peripheral mounds at Bottle Creek by examining primary pottery vessel shapes recovered in the Mound A (central) and Mound C (peripheral) excavations. In essence, this work complements Fuller’s study of pottery sets (Chapter 2). The shapes that I present and discuss encom-...
9. The Bottle Creek Microlithic Industry
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In 1991 the Alabama Museum of Natural History conducted limited test excavations in Mound L at the Bottle Creek site (Chapter 4; Brown and Fuller 1993b). During the spring of 1992 I analyzed the microlithic collection from these excavations. My primary goal in this chapter is to present the raw data and to compare the Bottle Creek microliths to other related ...
10. Matting and Pliable Fabrics from Bottle Creek
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Surface collections and excavations at Bottle Creek have produced 259 analyzable impressions of matting, pliable fabrics, yarns, and fibers on sherds from “saltpans”—large, shallow vessels often found at saline springs, where they would have been used to produce salt by evaporation (Drooker 1992:12–20). When I was asked to examine them, I anticipated learning ...
11. Water Travel and Mississippian Settlement at Bottle Creek
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Water travel would have been a major component of the lifeways of native peoples in deltaic environments such as the wet landscape surrounding the Mississippian town at Bottle Creek. For this reason archaeologists have taken an interest in reports of an aboriginal canal at Bottle Creek. In this chapter I review ethnohistoric and archaeological evidence from the lower ...
12. Concluding Thoughts on Bottle Creek and Its Position in the Mississippian World
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As is evident from the preceding chapters, much knowledge has been derived from the recent work at the Bottle Creek site and in the surrounding Mound Island region. Perhaps of most importance to posterity was the contribution that the Gulf Coast Survey made in elevating this site to National Historic Landmark status. Its importance has been recognized na-...
Appendix A. Archaeological Phases Represented at the Bottle Creek Site
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Appendix B. Radiocarbon Dates Secured at the Bottle Creek Site
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Publication Year: 2003