Test 3 Lecture 20
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- 300 acre settlement built on a bluff by the Black Warrior River in Alabama.
- Number of mounds changes, but last estimated is 36
- the only larger mound settlement larger than moundville is Cahokia
- abandoned around 1450 for unknown reasons predating European contact
- has been subjected to looting for antiquarian purposes
- population ranged from 1000-3000 people
- Moundville is indicative of a central settlement that held sway over regional communities.
- Ceramics and exotic materials are imported from across the region
- moundville often referred to as a chiefdom
- What to call moundville in terms of social herirachy is problematic because calling them chiefs implies that one or few people are in charge.
- Instead, there were other individuals in different mounds engaging in similar activities just smaller scale so it becomes problematic when it is referred to as a chiefdom.
- we should refer to them rather as stratified hierarchical sites.
- Band, Tribe, Chiefdom, State - developed
- in context of human ecology - been outdated for decades, but still shows up when labeling organization of human societies.
- Excavated by Clarence Bloomville Moore
- (1852-1936), the American version of
- Heinrich Schliemann (business man who discovered Troy; antiquarianist; destroying arch materials)
- Moore came from wealthy family that owned a newspaper company - Jessup and Moore Paper Co.
- He traveled around a lot, visited Schliemann's site, had an interest in North American past and went to Harvard to study archaeology.
- 1st person to excavate moundville in 1905-06
- identified SECC and other mounds not visible on the surface; his excavations not systematic, but rather selective.
- in any case we should keep in mind that he is a wealthy business man first in pursuit of novelties, but still a good archaeologist
- traveled round in his steamboat called the Gopher
- Revisited by Walter B. Jones (1895-1977)
- trained at University of Alabama & John Hopkins
- had wide set of interests in archaeology and geology
- invested in heritage preservation
- petitioned for Moundville to be turned into a state park
- In the 30's the depression affected his ability to do things for preservation and excavation so he decided to fund raise for this
- he wanted to excavate systematically so he sent his friend David DeJarnette to be trained and together they excavated
- excavated about 15% of the site
- became state geologist and conservator to assure the resources stayed local and available to the public
- The Jones Museum built in response to this and a lot of the original resources are still there.
What are the 2 types of ceramics at Moundville
- Polychrome Pottery
Ceramics at Moundville:
Hemphill Style characteristics:
- ceramic vessels
- found everywhere in the area - in commoner and elite areas
- Shell-tempered with non local resources
- Burnished and Polished (decorative technique polished when its dry and then again after firing)
- incised after firing
- themes include the winged serpent, the crested bird, the raptor, and images included
- in the SECC repertoire.
Ceramics at Moundville:
Polychrome Pottery characteristics:
- not found throughout the area
- only found in grave sites of elite
- Spherical bottles, square bowls, serving vessels
- vessels meant to hold exotic materials or serving
- Imported resources
- indicative of social stratification and public ceremony activities
- Evidence of intense social stratification
- Mound burials - also found but in a smaller scale compared to elites
- “Commoner” burials
- investment in communal ceremonial system
- Grave goods indicate status heriarchy between commoner and elite - higher quality for elites
- Diet - higher quality eating food derived from settlers around moundville - looking at tributary society or exchange network
- elite investing in symbolic repertoires
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