At the time of Spanish contact in A.D. 1540, the Mississippian inhabitants of the great valley in northwestern Georgia and adjacent portions of Alabama and Tennessee were organized into a number of chiefdoms distributed along the Coosa and Tennessee rivers and their major tributaries. The administrative centers of these polities were large settlements with one or more platforms mounds and a plaza. Each had a large resident population, but most polity members lived in a half dozen or so towns located within a day’s walk of the center. This book is about one such town, located on the Coosa River in Georgia and known to archaeologists as the King site.
Excavations of two-thirds of the 5.1 acre King site reveal a detailed picture of the town’s domestic and public architecture and overall settlement plan. Intensive analysis of architectural features, especially of domestic structures, enables a better understanding of the variation in structure size, compass orientation, construction stages, and symbolic cosmological associations; the identification of multi-family households; and the position of individual structures within the town’s occupation sequence or life history. Comparison of domestic architecture and burials reveals considerable variation between households in house size, shell bead wealth, and prominence of adult members. One household is preeminent in all these characteristics and may represent the household of the town chief or his matrilineal extended family. Analysis of public architectural features has revealed the existence of a large meeting house with likely historical connections to 18th-century Creek town houses; a probable cosmological basis for the town’s physical layout; and an impressive stockade-and-ditch defensive perimeter.
The King site represents a nearly ideal opportunity to identify the kinds of status positions that were held by individual inhabitants; analyze individual households and investigate the roles they played in King site society; reconstruct the community that existed at King, including size, life history, symbolic associations, and integrative mechanisms; and place King in the larger regional political system. With excavations dating back to 1973, and supported in part by the National Endowment for the Humanities and the National Geographic Society, this is social archaeology at its best.
Contents List of Illustrations 000 Preface 000 Acknowledgments 000 1. Introduction 000 2. The Nature of Mississippian Society 000 3. The Natural, Cultural, and Historical Context of the King Site 000 4. Site Excavations 000 5. Domestic Architecture 000 6. Public Architecture 000 7. Burial Descriptions 000 8. Household and Community 000 9. Analysis of Burial Attribute Associations 000 10. Artifact Co-occurrences 000 11. Artifact Co-occurrences among Adult Males 000 12. Community and Polity in Northwestern Georgia 000 References Cited 000 Index 000 CONTENTS OF ACCOMPANYING COMPACT DISC Appendix A. Description of Primary Domestic Structures 000 Appendix B. Description of Rectangular Structures 000 Appendix C. Burial Data 000 Appendix D. Stratigraphic Characteristics of Disturbed, Intrusive, and Multiple Burials 000 Appendix E. Age and Sex Identification of Burials 000 Appendix F. Burial Assignment of Grave Goods in Multiple and Intrusive Burials 000 Appendix G. Location of Burials 000 Appendix H. Location of Postholes and Features 000
“Hally’s detailed analysis of the highly significant King site will spark discussion for years to come.”--Lynne P. Sullivan, University of Tennessee
"This book deals with the fortified King site, a Late MIssissippian, single-component archaeological town in northwestern Georgia occupied c. 1540-1560. Two things are particularly important about this massive work. As a small palisaded community almost half-excavated, the site allows Hally the opportunity not only to analyze it in conventional terms, but also to examine its internal and external settlement patterns, particularly its elite and nonelite housing arrangements, with those reported in the historically documented towns of the Indians of the Southeast, especially those visited by De Soto and Luna. Further the approximately 250 excavated burials, a very large sample for a community of this size, allow for a detailed examination of the artifacts associated with age, class, and gender; these also supply important information on nutrition, general health, and even some DNA data. Recommended."--CHOICE