Early and Middle Woodland Landscapes of the Southeast

Early and Middle Woodland Landscapes of the Southeast

Early and Middle Woodland Landscapes of the Southeast

Early and Middle Woodland Landscapes of the Southeast

Synopsis

"This is the first volume in a decade to address the Woodland period in the Southeast. The research is fresh and reports new information and interpretations gleaned from a variety of sources--new excavations, geophysics, grey literature, older collections--and covers a range of studies from single sites to specific archaeological complexes to interactions among complexes."--Lynne P. Sullivan, coeditor of Mississippian Mortuary Practices

"This volume fills an important gap in Southeast archaeology, the Early and Middle Woodland periods. It contains the best that the current generation of archaeologists has to offer, set in the context of the broader landscape of regional archaeology."--Dean R. Snow, author of Archaeology of Native North America

The Early and Middle Woodland periods (1000 BCE-500 CE) in North America witnessed remarkable cross-cultural social interactions as well as novel interactions between people and the physical world. Using case studies from Georgia, Florida, North Carolina, Mississippi, Kentucky, Alabama, and Tennessee, this volume sheds new light on these dynamic and complex social landscapes.


Fourteen in-depth case studies incorporate empirical data with theoretical concepts such as ritual, aggregation, and place-making, highlighting the variability and common themes in the relationships between people, landscapes, and the built environment that characterize this period of North American native life in the Southeast.

Excerpt

Emerging Approaches to the Landscapes of the Early and Middle Woodland Southeast

Alice P. wright and edward R. henry

On a pleasantly balmy morning in November 2009, several dozen archaeologists crowded into a small conference room in Mobile, Alabama, to hear David Anderson and Kenneth Sassaman comment on the current state of archaeological research in the American Southeast. Their paper, now expanded into a book (Anderson and Sassaman 2012), covered considerable topical, chronological, and theoretical ground. in a mere 20 minutes, they discussed how new techniques for archaeological prospection, dating, data management, and environmental reconstruction were changing our views of the southeastern past, from the Paleo-Indian period through European contact, and they outlined several directions for future study of these issues.

Notably absent from their presentation, however, were the Early and Middle Woodland periods, dating, respectively, to circa 1000–200 bc and 200 BC–AD 600–800. For researchers interested in the Woodland period, this omission by two giants of southeastern archaeology was, to say the least, disconcerting. Surely, future research in the region could not ignore nearly two millennia of cultural development, which encompass critical social, political, and economic changes associated with the adoption of horticulture and semipermanent settlement and with a florescence of ceremonial activity and subcontinental interaction networks? Surely, the methodological developments and theoretical perspectives discussed in the context of Archaic and Mississippian research could be applied with equal success to the intervening periods? Surely, we could not be the only people interested in this stuff?

In an effort to answer these questions, we mustered a sizable contingent of Woodland period specialists at 2010’s Southeastern Archaeological Conference in a symposium entitled “Ritual and Domestic Landscapes of Early and Middle Woodland Peoples in the Southeast.” This more manageably titled volume is the outcome of our session. the chapters herein demonstrate the . . .

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