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J U L Y 2 0 0 8 229 blossomed into full public view in the 1960s and continue to fuel a religious movement of Alabama Baptists looking toward the future. CHARLES A. ISRAEL Auburn University Archaeology of the Lower Muskogee Creek Indians, 1715–1836. By H. Thomas Foster II, with contributions by Mary Theresa BonhageFreund and Lisa O’Steen. Tuscaloosa: University of Alabama Press, 2007. xxii, 292 pp. $55.00 (cloth). ISBN 978-0-8173-1239-8. $32.95 (paper). ISBN 978-0-8173-5365-0. Archaeology of the Moundville Chiefdom. Edited by Vernon James Knight Jr. and Vincas P. Steponaitis. New edition. Tuscaloosa: University of Alabama Press, 2007. xxiii, 203 pp. $29.95. ISBN 978-0-8173-5421-3. These two recent publications by the University of Alabama Press bookend about eight hundred years of Southeastern Indian prehistory and history in present-day Alabama and Georgia. Archaeology of the Moundville Chiefdom is the paperback new edition of a collection of essays that were first presented in a 1993 symposium and subsequently published in 1998 by the Smithsonian Institution Press. At the time of their first publication, the essays constituted a new synthesis of Moundville archaeology which upended previous syntheses through the development of a new, finer chronology for the site. The model worked out in these essays still stands as the basic model for understanding Moundville. Editors Knight and Steponaitis offer the new model of Moundville in a well-presented chapter appropriately titled “A New History of Moundville.” They reconstruct the rise and fall of Moundville from its modest beginnings to its rise as a preeminent regional center by 1300, through its transition to a largely vacant ceremonial center and necropolis, to its occupation as a minor chiefdom in the sixteenth century prior to and during early European contact. The chapters that follow present the archaeological evidence that fills out some of the details of this reconstruction. Thirteen years after their first T H E A L A B A M A R E V I E W 230 presentations, it is clear that these essays not only charted new lines of archaeological inquiry about Moundville, but they gave this new research a solid framework upon which to build. In chapter two, for example, Steponaitis’s demographic analysis was integral to the development of the new history and it still provides the baseline sequence for the site. Knight, in chapter three, presents the reader with a “sociogram” of Moundville wherein he analyzes the layout of the mounds around the central plaza in terms of social organization. Knight’s social and symbolic analysis of Moundville’s monumental spaces has been and continues to be replicated by many researchers excavating other mound sites. In chapter four, Margaret Scarry examines the ordinary people of Moundville through an analysis of domestic spaces. Her emphasis on the nonelite is repeated by many archaeologists today who strive to understand the full suite of Mississippian citizenry. In chapters five and six, first Mary Lucas Powell and then Margaret Schoeninger and Mark Schurr examine the bioarchaeological data to assess how each transition in Moundville’s history had health and diet repercussions for both the elite and non-elite. Among other things, their studies conclusively showed that a heavy maize diet did not necessarily have ill effects on health, and the isotope analysis they used, considered cutting edge in 1993, is now standard procedure. In chapter seven, Paul Welch offers what at the time was a first look at other sites within the chiefdom over which the Moundville rulers held authority. Welch’s chapter inspired and continues to inspire many researchers to examine the outlying sites that comprise Mississippian chiefdoms. In chapter eight, Lauren Michals’s examination of the prestige goods found at the Oliver site first drew attention to the necessity for understanding the formation of Moundville—a research question being vigorously studied today. Obviously, this remarkable little book of eight essays not only revamped our understanding of Moundville, but, even more importantly, also challenged and continues to challenge archaeologists to look at Indian life during prehistoric times through a diachronic, historical lens. At the other end of our eight hundred–year history is H. Thomas...

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Additional Information

ISSN
2166-9961
Print ISSN
0002-4341
Pages
pp. 229-233
Launched on MUSE
2012-07-11
Open Access
No
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