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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: 16 September 2021

Spatial Practice at Parchman Place

Spatial Practice at Parchman Place

(p.118) 5 Spatial Practice at Parchman Place
Authority, Autonomy, and the Archaeology of a Mississippian Community

Erin S. Nelson

University Press of Florida

This chapter focuses on spatial practice and social organization at Parchman Place. Geophysical surveys, magnetic gradiometry in particular, revealed burned Mississippian structures on mound summits and residential areas, subsequently confirmed through excavation. Spatial analysis of geophysical features in residential areas indicates that most neighborhoods were organized in courtyard groups around a central plaza. These neighborhoods are interpreted as analogous to the house groups of the Muskogean-speaking descendants of Mississippian people, particularly the Choctaws, Chickasaws, and Creeks. The Mississippian community at Parchman Place is likewise considered analogous to post-Mississippi period towns. Deposition of large quantities of ash and food remains near one of the neighborhoods is interpreted as analogous to the community and world renewal ceremonies of those same Mississippian descendants. Sometime during the early 15th century, one house group removed to a location away from the plaza and built their houses in two rows on either side of a path or corridor oriented toward the site’s largest platform mound. Spatial and depositional practice at Parchman Place thus encoded particular ideas about community solidarity and renewal, and social differentiation.

Keywords:   Mississippian, Geophysical survey, Magnetic gradiometry, Spatial analysis, Neighborhoods, Courtyard groups, House groups, World renewal ceremonialism

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