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Production and Provenance of Weeden Island Mortuary Effigies from the Woodland Gulf Coast

Author(s): Mark Donop ; Neill Wallis ; Ann Cordell

Year: 2016

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Summary

Technofunctional analysis, neutron activation analysis (NAA), and petrographic analysis were employed to map the origins of rare mortuary effigies from Palmetto Mound (8LV2) on the Gulf Coast of Florida to better understand how the production and distribution of Weeden Island (ca. AD 200-1000) religious paraphernalia was related to social interactions and emergent complex societies. Palmetto Mound is a mortuary facility composed of mounds and ramps on a small island directly west of the large, arcuate Shell Mound (8LV42) dated primarily to the Weeden Island period. The relationship between religious practices and the heightened social complexity in the region indicated by increased communal aggregation, burial treatment differentiation and monumentality, is poorly understood. Weeden Island ceramic effigies of plants, animals, and humans were limited to mortuary contexts and produced at unknown and possibly restricted locations. Limited production and access to these mortuary items may indicate that incipient social inequality was tied to religious practices. Fourteen effigies from the Florida Museum of Natural History (FLMNH) were measured for technofunctional characteristics and 3D imaged, then sampled for NAA and petrographic analysis to determine elemental composition and paste characterization. The results were used to create a map that illustrates a ritual network of interaction.


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Production and Provenance of Weeden Island Mortuary Effigies from the Woodland Gulf Coast. Mark Donop, Neill Wallis, Ann Cordell. Presented at The 81st Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Orlando, Florida. 2016 ( tDAR id: 405225)


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Spatial Coverage

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

Arizona State University The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation National Science Foundation National Endowment for the Humanities Society for American Archaeology Archaeological Institute of America