Reconsidering the Monuments of the Precontact Peoples of the Northeastern United States

Author(s): Justin Reamer

Year: 2017


In the literature on monumentality there is little to no discussion of pre-contact Native American monuments in the northeastern United States. However, this does not mean the region was completely devoid of monumental architecture before the arrival of European, but monuments are not a common topic of archaeological research in the northeast. In this paper, I will discuss two structures- shell mounds, and stone and brush heaps- and argue that they should be discussed as monuments and further studied by archaeologists trying to understand the precolonial societies of the northeastern United States. I will first discuss the documentation of shell mounds and stone and brush heaps in ethnohistoric and survey records, such as those of Cyrus Thomas. I then will argue for why these structures should be included in archaeological discussions of monumentality. While I recognize the problems that keep archaeologists from studying these structures, I argue that this neglects an important aspect of the archaeological record. Lastly, I make an argument for how archaeologists of the northeastern United States can further our study of these structures to gain a fuller picture of the region's archaeology.

Cite this Record

Reconsidering the Monuments of the Precontact Peoples of the Northeastern United States. Justin Reamer. Presented at The 81st Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Vancouver, British Columbia. 2017 ( tDAR id: 429313)

This Resource is Part of the Following Collections

Spatial Coverage

min long: -80.815; min lat: 39.3 ; max long: -66.753; max lat: 47.398 ;

Record Identifiers

Abstract Id(s): 16925