Mound Construction and Community Changes within the Mississippian Town at Town Creek

Edmqnd A. Bqudreaux III

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:
Mound Construction and Community Changes within the Mississippian Town at Town Creek

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The Mississippian Period was a time of significant political and social change within the native communities of the southeastern United States. Political changes within Mississippian societies included increases in power and authority for community leaders and the establishment of multiple-community political entities known as chiefdoms. If mounds were the seats and symbols of political power within Mississippian societies and if ground-level earthlodges were more accessible than structures on the summits of mounds, then access to leaders and leadership may have decreased over time. This essay focuses on the Town Creek site in North Carolina, where extensive excavations produced a large amount of data from public and domestic contexts that predate and postdate mound construction. It examines whether changes in public architecture, namely, the replacement of a ground-level earthlodge with buildings placed on a platform mound summit, reflect political and social changes within the community. It seems that a heterarchical political organization in which power was shared and negotiated among multiple social groups existed throughout the history of the Town Creek community.

Keywords: Town Creek; Mississippian Period; North Carolina; political changes; social changes; political power; mounds; earthlodges; public architecture; political organization

Chapter.  11800 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Prehistoric Archaeology

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