Burial Diversity at the Angel Site: How Many People and How Many Ways?

Author(s): Mark Schurr; Erica Ausel; Della Cook

Year: 2016


The Angel site is a Middle Mississippian civic-ceremonial center that sat on the northeastern periphery of the Mississippian world. Excavations at the site, especially during the WPA era and a series of archaeological field schools just after World War II, created a collection representing several hundred human burials. Previous studies of this collection have emphasized relatively intact burials, either primary fleshed inhumations or easily identified secondary burials of single individuals. Although the modal burial at Angel was a fleshed inhumation of a single individual in an extended supine position, a great variety of burial methods were used including multiple secondary burials and individuals who underwent some degree of cremation. Understanding the significance and meaning of these diverse treatments is complicated by site taphonomy; many burials were disturbed prehistorically, causing fragmentation and comingling, or were excavated without a full appreciation of the need to distinguish between various possible activities or practices that produced commingling or burnt human remains. This paper provides possible interpretations in a regional context for non-modal burial practices including partial cremations and their spatial and temporal relationships to burned and unburned structures, secondary burials, and the recent identification of previously unrecognized multiple-individual secondary burials.

Cite this Record

Burial Diversity at the Angel Site: How Many People and How Many Ways?. Mark Schurr, Erica Ausel, Della Cook. Presented at The 81st Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Orlando, Florida. 2016 ( tDAR id: 403359)

Spatial Coverage

min long: -91.274; min lat: 24.847 ; max long: -72.642; max lat: 36.386 ;