Chapter

Aztalan Mortuary Practices Revisited

Lynne G. Goldstein

in Mississippian Mortuary Practices

Published by University Press of Florida

Published in print April 2010 | ISBN: 9780813034263
Published online September 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780813039619 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.5744/florida/9780813034263.003.0006
Aztalan Mortuary Practices Revisited

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The Aztalan site sits on the banks of the Crawfish River in Jefferson County, Wisconsin, and has been protected as a state park for more than fifty years. Prominent architectural features such as a substantial stockade and platform mounds are believed to date to the Mississippian Period. The first excavations at Aztalan took place in 1838 and were carried out by W. T. Sterling in an attempt to ascertain the nature of the “ruins” of the stockade. Although no cemetery has been documented at Aztalan, human remains have been found in one of three sets of contexts on the site proper indicative of Aztalan mortuary practices: eleven adult individuals were recovered from what was originally described as a “crematorium” on the second stage of the northwest pyramidal mound; primary inhumations are limited in number and usually consist of a flexed or partially flexed individual placed in a burial pit with few or no grave goods; scattered pieces of human bone recovered from refuse pits, storage pits, so-called firepits, or general habitation debris.

Keywords: Aztalan site; Wisconsin; mounds; Mississippian Period; crematorium; inhumations; pits; excavations; human remains; mortuary practices

Chapter.  7704 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Prehistoric Archaeology

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