Constructing Histories: Archaic Freshwater Shell Mounds and by Asa R. Randall

By Asa R. Randall

“A subtle program of panorama inspiration to a lately crafted archaeological checklist of the St. Johns River.”— Cheryl Claassen, writer of Feasting with Shellfish within the Southern Ohio Valley: Archaic Sacred websites and Rituals
“Changes the way in which archaeologists conceptualize the dynamic relationships among hunter-gatherers and cultural landscapes in local North the USA. anyone attracted to hunter-gatherer societies, panorama archaeology, old monuments, anthropogenic environments, the archaeology and environmental heritage of Florida and the yank South, and the background of North American archaeology may still learn this book.”—Christopher B. Rodning, coeditor of Archaeological reports of Gender within the Southeastern United States
huge accumulations of historic shells on coastlines and riverbanks have been lengthy thought of the results of rubbish disposal in the course of repeated nutrients gatherings by means of early population of the southeastern usa. during this volume, Asa R. Randall provides the 1st new theoretical framework for interpreting such middens considering Ripley Bullen’s seminal paintings sixty years in the past. He convincingly posits that those historic “garbage dumps” have been truly burial mounds,  ceremonial collecting areas, and infrequently habitation areas relevant to the histories and social geography of the hunter-gatherer societies who equipped them.

Synthesizing greater than one hundred fifty years of shell mound investigations and sleek distant sensing info, Randall rejects the long-standing ecological interpretation and redefines those websites as socially major monuments that demonstrate formerly unknown complexities concerning the hunter-gatherer societies of the Mount Taylor interval (ca. 7400–4600 cal. B.P.). plagued by weather switch and elevated scales of social interplay, the region’s population changed the panorama in impressive and significant methods. This pioneering quantity provides another heritage from which emerge wealthy information about the day-by-day actions, ceremonies, and burial rituals of the archaic St. Johns River cultures. 

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Extra info for Constructing Histories: Archaic Freshwater Shell Mounds and Social Landscapes of the St. Johns River, Florida

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Practical acts of creating places provide access windows into Archaic history-making. I suggest that we can trace how communities continually reconstructed places with significance by examining the location, organization, social context, tempo, and contents of depositional events. Thus, we move from simply testing whether sites were monuments or middens, and move toward examining how different comIntroduction: Archaic Shell Mounds on the St. Johns River 17 munities emerged through time, and how social memories and histories were produced through actions therein.

But these changes are related to demography rather than changes in basic lifeways” (Milanich 1994: 86). Consequences for Mount Taylor (Pre)History As revealed in this short historiography, Wyman’s original dichotomy emerged as both a temporal and an ontological dichotomy. The initial distinction between shell mound deposition and sand burial mound construction has been tacitly accepted and coupled with a model of unilineal, progressive social evolution. Despite the clear evidence for Mount Taylor mortuary mounds, they were routinely ascribed to a later period.

The emphasis on revolutions has particular implications for the study of Archaic communities. Despite evidence for changes, the Archaic is often envisioned as a protracted period of economic development that was sandwiched between the terminal Pleistocene megafauna hunters of the Paleoindian period, and the post-Archaic Woodland and Mississippi periods (Sassaman 2010a: 5–10). Importantly, as a “stage,” the Archaic has more often than not been described by what supposedly did not happen: monument construction, veneration of the dead, food production, elaborate ritual networks, or the construction of permanent facilities just to name a few.

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