Points of revelation and communication: Interpreting Native American "monument" construction in the coastal American Southeast
Author(s): Matthew Sanger
Native American conceptions of place have only recently been drawn into archaeological interpretations of landscapes and have yet to make a meaningful impact on the study of built environments, particularly the creation of “monuments.” Drawing on American Indian philosophers and writers, this paper aims to remedy this shortcoming by (re)examining the creation of some of the oldest human constructions in the American Southeast – Late Archaic shell rings formed by hunter-gatherers more than 3,000 years ago. Dozens of shell rings have been found across the Southeast and were formed shortly after the stabilization of sea levels and the creation of the modern coastline. Based on foundational Native American ideas of relational existence, expansive conceptions of personhood, and localized generation of identity and meaning, I suggest that these shell constructions are best understood as points of communication between human and non-human worlds and that their presence along the coastline was an attempt to bring newly emergent landforms and ecozones into the social purview of ring builders.
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Points of revelation and communication: Interpreting Native American "monument" construction in the coastal American Southeast. Matthew Sanger. Presented at The 81st Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Orlando, Florida. 2016 ( tDAR id: 403607)
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min long: -91.274; min lat: 24.847 ; max long: -72.642; max lat: 36.386 ;