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Lamar Archaeology

Mississippian Chiefdoms in the Deep South

Edited by Mark Williams and Fary Shapiro, with contributions from Marvin T. Smit

Publication Year: 1990

A Dan Josselyn Memorial Publication

Lamar Archaeology provides a comprehensive and detailed review of our knowledge of the late prehistoric Indian societies in the Southern Appalachian area and its peripheries. These Lamar societies were chiefdom-level groups who built most of the mounds in this large region and were ancestors of later tribes, including the Creeks and Cherokees. This book begins with a history of the last 50 years of archaeological and historical research and brings together for the first time all the available data on this early culture. It also provides an invaluable model for books about Southeastern Indian societies by combining purely descriptive information with innovative analyses, advancing our knowledge of the past while remaining firmly grounded in the archaeological evidence as fact.

Contributors include:

Frankie Snow, Chad O. Braley, James B. Langford Jr., Marvin T. Smith, Daniel T. Elliott, Richard R. Polhemus, C. Roger Nance, Gary Shapiro, Mark Williams, John F. Scarry, David G. Anderson, andCharles M. Hudson

Published by: The University of Alabama Press


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pp. v- viii

Part I - Lamar Archaeology

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pp. 3-9

From the mountains of east Tennessee to the low hills of north Florida and from the coast of South Carolina to the central Alabama Piedmont lived the Native Americans known to archaeologists as the Mississippian period Lamar people....

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Lamar Archaeology: 1987

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pp. 10-26

Whether or not John Basil Lamar ever saw, much less seriously reflected upon, the Indian mounds he owned is unrecorded. In 1862, during the Battle of Crampton's Gap in Maryland, he was killed by a Yankee bullet. His name...

Part II - Time and Space

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pp. 27-29

This section summarizes the chronological periods and phases that have been defined to date for the research area. Some of this information was first defined many years ago, but much of it has been only recently worked out and was presented for the first time at the conference. Many of the phases represent archaeological units of time ...

Regional Chronologies

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pp. 30-38

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Phase Characteristics

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pp. 39-80

Part III - Case Studies

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p. 81-81

The papers presented in this section illustrate the wide range of approaches being explored by those currently studying Lamar socie ties. We begin with a series of papers (by Snow, Braley, Langford and Smith, and Elliott) that present important basic data on variability in Lamar material culture and settlement patterns. Although ...

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1. Pine Barrens Lamar

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pp. 82-93

Late Lamar sites that contain European artifacts dating to the sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries have been located deep in the Pine Barrens section of south Georgia. That area includes the lower Ocmulgee River and upper Satilla River drainages. This site distribution...

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2. The Lamar Ceramics of the Georgia Coast

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pp. 94-103

The Lamar ceramic complex of the Georgia coast is a variant known as Irene. Its definition was based on Joseph Caldwell's excavation of the type site on Irene plantation adjacent to the lower Savannah River...

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3. Recent Investigations in the Core of the Coosa Province

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pp. 104-116

The purpose of this paper is to describe several aboriginal sites along the Coosawattee River in northwestern Georgia, which have yielded mid-sixteenth-century European artifacts and which may delineate the limits of the core of Coosa, a powerful chiefdom...

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4. Two Late Lamar Sites near Ray's Corner, Oconee County, Georgia

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pp. 117-124

A brief examination of several upland locations in central Oconee County, Georgia, in 1980 produced some interesting archaeological information. Two upland Lamar sites are discussed, but the discussion will attempt to transcend a typical site report and focus on the implications of these two sites on the mechanics of Lamar society...

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5. Dallas Phase Architecture and Sociopolitical Structure

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pp. 125-138

The architectural or structural aspects of a society reflect both the technological level and the sociopolitical structure of that society. This paper will summarize several aspects of ongoing research concerning the Dallas culture in the east Tennessee Valley. Technological aspects of Mississippian architecture are dealt with else ...

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6. A Study of Lamar Ecology on the Western Edge of the Southern Piedmont

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pp. 139-146

The tendency for Mississippian sites to be located on ecotones is widely recognized, and Lamar sites are no exception. In the western boundary of two physiographic provinces...

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7. Bottomlands and Rapids: A Mississippian Adaptive Niche in the Georgia Piedmont

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pp. 147-162

Environmentally based models of Mississippian settlement have been widely used by archaeologists in recent years. Most archaeologists would agree that difficulties arise when such models are applied over increasingly larger geographic areas. But rather than...

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8. Paired Towns

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pp. 163-174

The summer 1985 excavations at the Scull Shoals site (9GE4) generated an interesting question with both chronological and cultural implications (Williams 1988). Scull Shoals is on the east bank of the Oconee River in Greene County, Georgia, and is the most northerly of the mound centers suggested by Marvin Smith and Stephen ...

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9. The Rise, Transformation, and Fall of Apalachee: A Case Study of Political Change in a Chiefly Society

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pp. 175-186

When the first European explorers entered the southeastern United States in the early sixteenth century they encountered a flourishing native population. Accounts of expeditions to the southeast (for example, the reports of the Narvaez and De Soto expeditions- Bandelier 1964; Buckingham Smith...

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10. Stability and Change in Chiefdom-Level Societies: An Examination of Mississippian Political Evolution on the South Atlantic Slope

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pp. 187-213

In this paper, I propose to examine factors influencing the stability of chiefly societies. The focus for this research will be the Mississippian societies of the South Atlantic Slope, specifically those within the Savannah River Basin. A major premise of this research is that broad geographic and theoretical perspectives are essential if we are ...

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11. Conversations with the High Priest of Coosa

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pp. 214-230

Hernando de Soto first heard of the chiefdom of Coosa in April 1540, when he was in the chiefdom of Ocute, located on the Oconee River in the general vicinity of present Milledgeville, Sparta, and Greensboro, Georgia. He was told that Coosa was a large, wealthy society which lay to the northwest (Elvas in Buckingham Smith 1968, 58)...

References Cited

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pp. 231-252


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pp. 253-263

E-ISBN-13: 9780817383855
Print-ISBN-13: 9780817304669

Page Count: 271
Publication Year: 1990

Research Areas


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Subject Headings

  • Indians of North America -- Southern States -- Antiquities.
  • Southern States -- Antiquities.
  • Chiefdoms -- Southern States.
  • Lamar culture.
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