Mound-Building Societies of the Southern Midwest and Southeast

George R. Milner

in The Oxford Handbook of North American Archaeology

Published in print February 2012 | ISBN: 9780195380118
Published online September 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks

Mound-Building Societies of the Southern Midwest and Southeast

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There is good evidence for mound building, presumably accompanied by a commensurately rich ceremonial life, as early as the middle of the fourth millennium BC at Watson Brake, Louisiana, where mounds and intervening ridges defined a large oval area. Earthen (or shell) mounds, as well as a demarcation of open spaces partly or entirely surrounded by mounds or embankments, were associated with many societies from then onward. Their construction often represented continuity in existing practices, modified to meet local needs, but sometimes they appear to have been entirely independent developments. From the historic period back to the late first millennium AD, many major settlements were arranged around open spaces flanked by special forms of architecture, typically including mounds but sometimes only large wooden buildings.

Keywords: mound building; ceremonial life; Watson Brake; local needs; major settlements; wooden buildings

Article.  4203 words. 

Subjects: Archaeology ; Archaeology of North America

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