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Authority, Autonomy, and the Archaeology of a Mississippian Community$
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Erin S. Nelson

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9781683401124

Published to Florida Scholarship Online: September 2020

DOI: 10.5744/florida/9781683401124.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM FLORIDA SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.florida.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University Press of Florida, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in FLASO for personal use.date: 24 September 2021

Mound Building at Parchman Place

Mound Building at Parchman Place

(p.90) 4 Mound Building at Parchman Place
Authority, Autonomy, and the Archaeology of a Mississippian Community

Erin S. Nelson

University Press of Florida

Chapter 4 describes excavations, coring, and salvage work in mound contexts at Parchman Place and presents a detailed analysis of mound stratigraphy in Mounds A and E. The results of stratigraphic analyses reveal a complicated social history of mound building at the site that played out over the course of the 14th and 15th centuries and alternately emphasized social hierarchy on the one hand and heterarchical values related to balance and autonomy on the other. A number of typical and atypical mound building practices were identified, including founding events, mantle construction, building and dismantling of summit structures, veneering, truncation, and incorporation. Veneering is interpreted as a challenge to the hierarchical tendencies typically associated with mound building and Mississippian leadership in that it bundled the meaningful substances of white clay, shell, and ash. These substances, when used together, invoke ideas about wholeness and balance between different realms of the cosmos. Mound building and depositional practice were thus salient ways of negotiating community values related to status, leadership, kin group autonomy, and the Mississippian cosmos.

Keywords:   Mound building, Mound stratigraphy, Depositional practice, Mississippian leadership, Hierarchy, Kin group autonomy

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