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The Archaeology of Villages in Eastern North America$
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Jennifer Birch and Victor D. Thompson

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9781683400462

Published to Florida Scholarship Online: May 2019

DOI: 10.5744/florida/9781683400462.001.0001

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Powers of Place in the Predestined Middle Woodland Village

Powers of Place in the Predestined Middle Woodland Village

(p.36) 3 Powers of Place in the Predestined Middle Woodland Village
The Archaeology of Villages in Eastern North America

Neill Wallis

University Press of Florida

The transition of small mobile groups to larger village aggregations poses distinct economic, social, and political challenges. New integrative institutions and practices are necessary, and their stability can be reinforced through inscriptions on the built environment and landscape, particularly as they define the configuration of community spaces in which people interact frequently. In northern Florida and southern Georgia, an effective approach to village proxemics and social grammar emerged in the Woodland Period around ca. AD 200, after which many villages formed with similar U-shaped layouts studded by mounds in similar, or identical, locations. This chapter posits that the origins of this particular village configuration, and ultimately its widespread popularity, were rooted in experiences of non-anthropogenic features on the landscape. The Garden Patch site on the northern peninsular Gulf coast serves as a case study that shows how natural, cosmically aligned features defined the village layout, revealing an element of inevitability that may have legitimated the organization of space and society.

Keywords:   landscape, built environment, community, aggregation, Woodland Period

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