Archeology of the Funeral Mound: Ocmulgee National Monument, by Charles Fairbanks, Frank M. Setzler, Mark Williams

By Charles Fairbanks, Frank M. Setzler, Mark Williams

A Dan Josselyn Memorial Publication

A greatest mound web site bargains a wealth of basic facts on mortuary practices within the Mississippian Period.

the most important prehistoric mound web site in Georgia is found in modern day Macon and is called Ocmulgee. It was once first recorded in August 1739 by way of basic James Oglethorpe’s rangers in the course of an day trip to the territory of the reduce Creeks. The botanist William Bartram wrote widely of the ecology of the realm in the course of his stopover at in 1773, however the 1873 quantity by way of Charles C. Jones, Antiquities of the Southern Indians, really of the Georgia Tribes, was once the 1st to regard the archaeological value of the site.

Professional excavations started at Ocmulgee in 1933 less than the auspices of the Smithsonian establishment, utilizing Civil Works management hard work. Investigations persevered lower than various sponsorships until eventually December 1936, while the locality was once officially named a countrywide monument. Excavation of the mounds, village websites, earth inn, and funeral mound published an career of the Macon Plateau spanning greater than 7,000 years. The funeral mound was once chanced on to comprise log tombs, bundles of disarticulated bones, flexed burials, and cremations. Grave items integrated uniquely patterned copper solar disks that have been came across at just one different website within the Southeast—the Bessemer website in Alabama—so the 2 ceremonial facilities have been verified as contemporaries.

In this vintage paintings of archaeological learn and research, Charles Fairbanks has not just provided a whole remedy of the cultural improvement and lifeways of the developers of Ocmulgee yet has additionally comparable them successfully to different identified cultures of the prehistoric Southeast.


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35. Mossy Oak Simple StampedJennings and Fairbanks, 1940, p. 2. Lithic Artifacts As with the sherds, very little material in this category is catalogued from the submound level. Only 35 pieces of stone can be identified as belonging to the zone below the primary mound. Of these, I8 are small flint flakes, all with some patination. There are also three flakes of quartz, one light yellow and two pink. Both the flint and quartz flakes seem to be the usual scrap from the manufacture of tools. There was also a flat piece of fine-grained sandstone and a piece of calcined limestone.

19 Excavations at the Funeral Mound METHODOLOGY The first excavations in the Funeral Mound were made by vertical profile cuts on an east-west axis from both the north and south sides. The mound was first staked off in horizontals-foot squares. The north sections of the mound had been greatly cut away, incident to the construction of the Central of Georgia Railway right-of-way, and large amounts of slump dirt covered the standing sections. The center or higher parts had been cut further south than the sides, leaving a crescent shaped remnant, the highest point of which was slightly more than 25 feet above the surrounding general ground level.

This is also the period in which we find the Southeastern tradition of stamped pottery well established, a tradition which lasted into historic times. The division of this stamped material into complexes is not yet complete and the full cultural sequences are not yet thoroughly stated. It is clear, however. that in central Georgia, we are dealing with two pottery complexes in this time period: Swift Creek and Napier. The Napier material is characterized by very sandy, thin, dark pottery, with a rectilinear complicated stamp decoration that makes use of extensive hachuring of straight lines to fill rectangular or, very rarely, curved areas.

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