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A Dan Josselyn Memorial Publication
A 17th-century trading post and Indian town in central Georgia reveal evidence of culture contact and change.
Ocmulgee Old Fields near Macon, Georgia, is the site of a Lower Creek village and associated English trading house dating from the late 17th and early 18th centuries. It was excavated in the early 1930s as part of a WPA project directed by A. R. Kelly, which focused primarily on the major Mississippian temple mounds of Macon Plateau. The specific data for the Old Fields was not analyzed until nearly 30 years after the excavation.
Part of the significance of this site lies in its secure identification with a known group of people and the linkage of those people with recognizable archaeological remains. The Old Fields site was among the very first for which this kind of identification was possible and stands at the head of a continuing tradition of historic sites archaeology in the Southeast.
Carol I. Mason's classic study of the Ocmulgee Old Fields site has been a model for contact-period Indian archaeology since the 1960s. The report includes a discussion of the historic setting and an analysis of the archaeological materials with an identification of the Lower Creek town and possibly of the English trader who lived there. Now, for the first time, the original report is widely available in book form. With a new foreword by the author and a new introduction from Southeastern archaeology expert Marvin T. Smith, readers have the benefit of a contemporary view of this very fine piece of careful scholarship.
Carol I. Mason is Adjunct Professor of Archaeology at Lawrence University in Appleton, Wisconsin, and author of Wisconsin Indians: Prehistory to Statehood. Marvin T. Smith is Professor of Anthropology at Valdosta State University and author of Coosa: The Rise and Fall of a Southeastern Mississippian Chiefdom.
"This volume is valuable as a landmark in Southeastern research. It is somewhat outdated in its archaeological comparisons, but it is an excellent source for site findings and historical documentation. . . . The book provides greater insight into more current documents on the topic of these early relationships between the Old and New Worlds in the Southeast. It is a starting point from which to move forward and is valuable as a catalyst for future research."—Southeastern Archaeology
" Mason's work presents the analysis and interpretation of a large body of material excavated by Works Progress Administration archaeologists during the 1930s and, in this case, continued into the 1940s. Large-scale projects, undertaken by field crews numbering in the hundreds of workers, amassed quantities of artifactual material and supporting documentation. In many instances, substantial amounts of material remain unanalyzed and unreported to this day. . . . The Ocmulgee Old Fields site with its mix of indigenous and European people, local material culture and trade goods, and varied functions represents an opportunity to study the Lower Creeks between 1670 and 1717. . . .I recommend (this volume) to all colleagues laboring to understand the early historic peiod in the Southeast."—The Florida Anthropologist
"A masterful blend of meticulous archaeological analysis and wide-ranging historical research . . . with extraordinary style and wisdom."—Journal of Field Archaeology
The rapid growth and development of urban areas in the South have resulted in an increase in the number of urban archaeology projects required by federal and state agencies. These projects provide opportunities not only to investigate marginal areas between the town and countryside but also to recover information long buried beneath the earliest urban structures. Such projects have also created a need for a one-volume update on archaeology as it is practiced in the urban areas of the southeastern United States.
Archaeology of Southern Urban Landscapes will assist practitioners and scholars in the burgeoning fields of urban and landscape archaeology by treating the South as a distinctive social, geographic, and material entity and by focusing on the urban South rather than the stereotypical South of rural plantations. The case studies in this volume span the entire southeastern United States, from Annapolis to New Orleans and from colonial times to the 19th century. The authors address questions involving the function of cities, interregional diversity, the evolution of the urban landscape, and the impact of the urban landscape on southern culture. By identifying the relationship between southern culture and the South's urban landscapes, this book will help us understand the built landscape of the past and predict future growth in the region.
The volume includes:
Introduction: Urban Archaeology in the South, Amy L. Young
Southern Town Plans, Storytelling, and Historical Archaeology, Linda Derry
Mobile's Waterfront: The Development of a Port City, Bonnie L. Gums and George W. Shorter Jr.
Urbanism in the Colonial South: The Development of Seventeenth-Century Jamestown, Audrey J. Horning
Archaeology at Covington, Kentucky: A Particularly "Northern-looking" Southern City, Robert A. Genheimer
Charleston's Powder Magazine and the Development of a Southern City, Martha A. Zierden
Archaeology and the African-American Experience in the Urban South, J. W. Joseph
Ethnicity in the Urban Landscape: The Archaeology of Creole New Orleans, Shannon Lee Dawdy
Developing Town Life in the South: Archaeological Investigations at Blount Mansion, Amy L. Young
The Making of the Ancient City: Annapolis in the Antebellum Era, Christopher N. Matthews
Urban Archaeology in Tennessee: Exploring the Cities of the Old South, Patrick H. Garrow
Archaeological Views of Southern Culture and Urban Life, Paul R. Mullins and Terry H. Klein
Chronology, Content, Contest
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.
Word, Image, History
Ocmulgee National Monument, Georgia
A Dan Josselyn Memorial Publication
A premier mound site offers a wealth of primary data on mortuary practices in the Mississippian Period.The largest prehistoric mound site in Georgia is located in modern-day Macon and is known as Ocmulgee. It was first recorded in August 1739 by General James Oglethorpe’s rangers during an expedition to the territory of the Lower Creeks. The botanist William Bartram wrote extensively of the ecology of the area during his visit in 1773, but the 1873 volume by Charles C. Jones, Antiquities of the Southern Indians, Particularly of the Georgia Tribes, was the first to treat the archaeological significance of the site.
Professional excavations began at Ocmulgee in 1933 under the auspices of the Smithsonian Institution, using Civil Works Administration labor. Investigations continued under a variety of sponsorships until December 1936, when the locality was formally named a national monument. Excavation of the mounds, village sites, earth lodge, and funeral mound revealed an occupation of the Macon Plateau spanning more than 7,000 years. The funeral mound was found to contain log tombs, bundles of disarticulated bones, flexed burials, and cremations. Grave goods included uniquely patterned copper sun disks that were found at only one other site in the Southeast—the Bessemer site in Alabama—so the two ceremonial centers were established as contemporaries.
In this classic work of archaeological research and analysis, Charles Fairbanks has not only offered a full treatment of the cultural development and lifeways of the builders of Ocmulgee but has also related them effectively to other known cultures of the prehistoric Southeast.
Episodes in the Shaping of a Region, 1830–1965