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Pinson Mounds

Middle Woodland Ceremonialism in the Midsouth

Robert C. Mainfort Jr.

Publication Year: 2013

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 AD 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.

Published by: University of Arkansas Press

Contents

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p. v-v

Figures

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pp. vi-ix

Tables

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p. x-x

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Preface

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pp. xi-xiv

In 1976, shortly after successfully defending my dissertation on an eighteenth-century Native American cemetery in Michigan, the whims of the job market took me to Nashville, Tennessee, where I accepted a job with the Tennessee Division of Archaeology. Funding for development of an archaeological park— including a large museum, offices, lab, and curation space—at a site known as Pinson Mounds was on the ...

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Acknowledgments

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pp. xv-xvi

Funding for the 1981, 1982, and 1983 excavations at Pinson Mounds was provided by the Tennessee Department of Conservation, Division of Planning and Development; the late Walter Criley was instrumental in securing and administering these funds. The 1989 Ozier Mound excavation was partially funded by a grant from the National Geographic Society; additional funding was provided by the Tennessee ...

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1. Pinson Mounds and Its Setting

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pp. 3-18

Pinson Mounds is located in West Tennessee,1 about 15 km south of Jackson, in Madison and Chester Counties (Figure 1.1). Included within the Pinson Mounds complex are at least 13 mounds, a geometric earthen embankment, and contemporary short-term ritual-activity areas (Mainfort 1986a, 1988a, 1996a) ...

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2. Antiquarians’ Perspectives on Pinson Mounds 2.0

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pp. 19-66

From the time the first Euro-Americans set eyes on the mounds and embankments of Madison County, Tennessee, in the early 1820s, those prehistoric earthworks became a source of interest and speculation. Throughout the nineteenth century and into the early decades of the twentieth century, references to the earthworks near Pinson found their way into numerous ...

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3. Mapping Never-Never Land: An Examination of Pinson Mounds Cartography

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pp. 67-84

In a 1922 issue of Art and Archaeology, William E. Myer published a brief description of Pinson Mounds. Accompanying this article was a beautifully drafted map titled “City of Cisco near Pinson, Madison County, Tennessee” (Figure 2.2). This was the first published map of the mound complex. The most visually striking features appearing on the City of Cisco map are extensive embankments, which include ...

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4. Western Ritual Precinct

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pp. 85-141

The western ritual precinct subsumes the mounds and occupation areas located west of Hudson Branch (Figures 1.2 and 1.10). These include Ozier Mound (Mound 5), the Twin Mounds (Mound 6), Mound 31, and one or more additional mounds (Mainfort 1996b:119; Morse 1986:99), as well as two identified occupation areas (the Twin Mounds sector and the Cochran site area) that are linked to ritual activities ...

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5. Central Ritual Precinct

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pp. 143-172

The area subsumed within the Central Ritual Precinct includes a goodly portion of the Pinson Mounds complex that is located east of Hudson Branch (Figures 1.2 and 1.10). This encompasses a considerable amount of real estate and probably groups together several ritual precincts. Earlier, I suggested that Mound 15, which is spatially and topographically isolated from other earthworks, might be viewed appropriately as a distinct ...

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6. Eastern Ritual Precinct (The “Eastern Citadel”)

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pp. 173-190

The Eastern Ritual Precinct consists of an earthen geometric enclosure that encircles a large rectangular platform mound, and a somewhat conical mound just southeast of the embankment. These earthworks are located on a peninsula in the southeastern portion of the Pinson Mounds complex (Figures 1.2, 6.1, and 6.2). The relative isolation of this group of earthworks suggests that it is a distinct ritual precinct. The name ...

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7. Calibrated Radiocarbon Chronology for Pinson Mounds and Related Sites

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pp. 191-202

In 2004 we published a paper entitled “Calibrated Radiocarbon Chronology for Pinson Mounds and Middle Woodland in the Midsouth” (Mainfort and McNutt 2004). This chapter largely follows that paper with a few differences, including the use of OxCal plots (Bronk Ramsey 1995, 2005) and an explicit assessment of the traditional view of Pinson Mounds ...

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8. Pinson Mounds and the Middle Woodland Period in the Midsouth and Lower Mississippi Valley

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pp. 203-234

In the Midsouth and Lower Mississippi Valley, there has traditionally been less research or antiquarian interest in Middle Woodland than in Illinois and Ohio. There are several obvious reasons for this. First, there are fewer Hopewellian burial mounds in the South than there are in these two northern states, and those few that have been excavated have yielded comparatively few exotic materials and artifact forms. Second, ...

Appendix I

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pp. 235-236

Appendix II

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pp. 237-249

References

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pp. 251-268

Index

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pp. 269-270


E-ISBN-13: 9781610755276
Print-ISBN-13: 9781557286390

Page Count: 310
Publication Year: 2013