Structuring an Argument and Posting the Results: Investigating a possible Mississippian household

By Adam Coker

The goal of our team this field season was to investigate a possible structure identified in magnetometer data. This data presented itself as distinct anomalies that corresponded to what could be a central hearth and rectangular walls. We placed a 1 x 6 m trench, oriented east to west, over the central hearth and two sections of the walls. While we did not identify a wall in this trench, we did identify a large circular feature bounded by fired white clay and fire cracked rock.


Hearth feature composed of fire-cracked rock and fired while clay (daub).

To the east of this feature we found a dense concentration of artifacts along the floor of the unit, and to the west we found a relatively clean area. In order to place this circular feature within the context of a structure, we expanded our survey coverage with a 1 x 1 m unit off of the east wall of our existing trench. We encountered the boundaries of a unit excavated in the 2013 field season early on and ceased excavation.


Post molds in the base of the team’s excavation unit. 

The next step was to follow our anomaly north in order to capture a section of undisturbed wall. To accomplish this, we extended our excavation coverage with a 1 x 3 m unit oriented north-south. We countered another dense concentration of artifacts in the floor of the southern half of this new unit. Beneath this layer of artifacts, we encountered an interesting change in soil represented in the northern third of the unit. This change was represented by a more compact layer of red soil that was distinct from the softer dark brown soil in the southern half of the unit. Our excavations this season ended with the identification of three possible post-molds. As our field season draws to a close, the next step for our team is to return to the lab to analyze our data and to structure our interpretations.


The House team, clockwise from top: David, Jaimie, Adam (the author), and Shelby, with their unit at the end of this season’s excavations


About Dr. Jennifer Birch

I am an archaeologist who specializes in the Archaeology of Eastern North America. Conceptually, my interests are underpinned by the desire to understand how the lived experiences of individuals and communities articulates with long-term, large-scale processes of social and cultural change. My current research is concerned with the development of organizational complexity and diversity in eastern North America. Ongoing projects in Northeastern North America include: - Geophysical investigations of Late Precontact Iroquoian Villages - Regional synthesis of data on Iroquoian settlement patterns, including intra-site patterns, interregional interaction, and geopolitical realignment Ongoing projects in Southeastern North America include: - Multi-scalar investigations of the Late Woodland to Mississippian transition in the Deep South - Household and community archaeology at the Singer-Moye site
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1 Response to Structuring an Argument and Posting the Results: Investigating a possible Mississippian household

  1. Pingback: Kicking off the SMASH 2017 field season | Mississippian Settlement Archaeology

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