Project Title

Clay in the Homestead: A Ceramic Analysis of a Middle Mississippian House

Academic department under which the project should be listed

RCHSS - Geography & Anthropology

Faculty Sponsor Name

Dr. Terry Powis

Abstract (300 words maximum)

Very few prehistoric Native American houses have been fully excavated from the Middle Mississippian period (AD 1200-1375), and even fewer excavations used modern archaeological techniques. Recent excavations at a small village named the Cummings site, located just two miles (3.2 kilometers) northwest to the preeminent center of Etowah, have uncovered a burnt wattle-and-daub house. During the excavation 21 ceramic artifacts were collected on the house floor including 4 partial vessels, 15 sherds, the base of a smoking pipe, and a jar stopper. This research examines the ceramic assemblage of this house not only for classification purposes but also for analyzing the possible functions the ceramics had. Houses of this period were single family units containing various activities including food preparation, art production, storage, and rituals that utilized ceramics. The ceramic assemblage at Cummings helps paint a picture of what domestic life was like for the occupants of this Middle Mississippian house and, by extension, the village itself. A comparative analysis of the Cummings ceramics to other Middle Mississippian assemblages provides insight on the similarities and differences in the lives of those living in and around Etowah during the Middle Mississippian period.

Disciplines

Archaeological Anthropology

Project Type

Oral Presentation (15-min time slots)

How will this be presented?

Yes, in person

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Clay in the Homestead: A Ceramic Analysis of a Middle Mississippian House

Very few prehistoric Native American houses have been fully excavated from the Middle Mississippian period (AD 1200-1375), and even fewer excavations used modern archaeological techniques. Recent excavations at a small village named the Cummings site, located just two miles (3.2 kilometers) northwest to the preeminent center of Etowah, have uncovered a burnt wattle-and-daub house. During the excavation 21 ceramic artifacts were collected on the house floor including 4 partial vessels, 15 sherds, the base of a smoking pipe, and a jar stopper. This research examines the ceramic assemblage of this house not only for classification purposes but also for analyzing the possible functions the ceramics had. Houses of this period were single family units containing various activities including food preparation, art production, storage, and rituals that utilized ceramics. The ceramic assemblage at Cummings helps paint a picture of what domestic life was like for the occupants of this Middle Mississippian house and, by extension, the village itself. A comparative analysis of the Cummings ceramics to other Middle Mississippian assemblages provides insight on the similarities and differences in the lives of those living in and around Etowah during the Middle Mississippian period.

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