Movement and Animacy of Bodies in Pre-Columbian Florida

Author(s): Neill Wallis; John Krigbaum

Year: 2019


This is an abstract from the "From Individual Bodies to Bodies of Social Theory: Exploring Ontologies of the Americas" session, at the 84th annual meeting of the Society for American Archaeology.

Pre-Columbian Florida burial mounds exhibit multiple modes of burial, including extended, flexed, mixed (and mass) bundles, skull only, and cremation, as well as emplaced objects in various conditions and configurations. These different forms often occur within a single mound, and have been explained mostly in terms of changing mortuary traditions and reflections of individual social identity and status. However, relational ontologies drawn from Indigenous experience and hinted at in ethnohistorical descriptions emphasize notions of animacy and personhood that transcend social identities of the deceased in life and extend to both human remains and mound accoutrements. Animacy/personhood is recognized in beings with particular qualities and may manifest in both human and other-than-human bodies. Here we consider various bodies’ capacity for movement, which is a primary index of animacy that helps explain past mortuary practices. From this perspective we examine Middle and Late Woodland (ca. AD 200 to 800) mounds in northern Florida, and the relationship between modes of burial and histories of movement revealed by isotopic analysis of human bone and sourcing studies of pottery.

Cite this Record

Movement and Animacy of Bodies in Pre-Columbian Florida. Neill Wallis, John Krigbaum. Presented at The 84th Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Albuquerque, NM. 2019 ( tDAR id: 450595)

Spatial Coverage

min long: -93.735; min lat: 24.847 ; max long: -73.389; max lat: 39.572 ;

Record Identifiers

Abstract Id(s): 24314