Heaps of Time: Methodological Considerations for Dating Earthen Mound Construction

Author(s): Phil Stastney

Year: 2017


Establishing a robust chronology is fundamental to consideration of the ritual significance of mounds. This can be as simple as placing a mound or group of mounds into their chronological and cultural context, exploring the chronological relationships between mounds and the pacing of mound construction, through to unpicking sequences of construction, use and reuse of a single mound. Fixing the act, or acts, of "mounding" in time is no less important than fixing them in their place in the landscape. Dating mounds may not be straightforward. There are several important methodological considerations that not only have an impact on the interpretation of dating evidence from earthen mounds but may also impact on our understanding of the ritual and symbolic nature of mounds. The act of mounding involves the collection and redeposition of material that is, by definition, older than the mound itself; whether this is the deliberate remoulding of old material, or merely an accidental side-effect, this raises important considerations. Case studies from a number of morphologically similar but chronologically diverse mounds in England are presented, illustrating the insights as well as the practical and methodological challenges posed by dating large earthen mounds.

Cite this Record

Heaps of Time: Methodological Considerations for Dating Earthen Mound Construction. Phil Stastney. Presented at The 81st Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Vancouver, British Columbia. 2017 ( tDAR id: 429674)


Geographic Keywords

Spatial Coverage

min long: -11.074; min lat: 37.44 ; max long: 50.098; max lat: 70.845 ;

Record Identifiers

Abstract Id(s): 14333