Rethinking Moundville and Its Hinterland

Edited by Vincas P. Steponaitis and C. Margaret Scarry

Foreword by Henry T. Wright III
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"A substantive addition to our knowledge about one of the premier archaeological sites in eastern North America."--George Milner, author of The Cahokia Chiefdom

"Brings fresh thinking into a well-trod path of scholarship and goes well beyond the confines of the specialties of subsistence, settlement, and technology to shed light on the social function of the Moundville site. An enjoyable read for those who relish the interplay between social and political concepts and archaeological data."--James A. Brown, author of The Spiro Ceremonial Center: The Archaeology of Arkansas Valley Caddoan Culture in Eastern Oklahoma


Moundville, near Tuscaloosa, Alabama, is one of the largest pre-Columbian mound sites in North America. Comprising twenty-nine earthen mounds that were once platforms for chiefly residences and public buildings, Moundville was a major political and religious center for the people living in its region and for the wider Mississippian world.

A much-needed synthesis of the rapidly expanding archaeological work that has taken place in the region over the past two decades, this volume presents the results of multifaceted research and new excavations. Using models deeply rooted in local ethnohistory, it ties Moundville and its people more closely than before to the ethnography of native southerners and emphasizes the role of social memory, iconography, and ritual practices both at the mound center and in the rural hinterland, providing an up-to-date and refreshingly nuanced interpretation of Mississippian culture.

Vincas P. Steponaitis, professor of anthropology and director of the Research Laboratories of Archaeology at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, is coauthor of Archaeology of the Moundville Chiefdom. C. Margaret Scarry, professor of anthropology at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, is editor of Foraging and Farming in the Eastern Woodlands.
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A very important contribution to the understanding of a great Native American center that brings fresh insights to a field of research that has troubled scholars for many decades.-- American Archaeology

For Southeastern archaeologists the Rethinking Moundville volume will be a necessary addition to their bookshelves....This process of self-reexamination of the neo-evolutionary model that has blanketed the southeast is long overdue.-- Midcontinental Journal of Archaeology

Here, there are significant new contextualizations and insights....We need to theorise the mounds, mound-builders, and moundvilles of North America more effectively. Better historical contextualizations, as seen in...Rethinking Moundville and its Hinterland are the beginning.-- Antiquity

Fascinating. . . . [and] highly recommended.-- Choice

A major publication in Southeastern archaeology. It not only summarizes two decades of work by multiple researchers, but also marshals that large body of work into a coherent argument that leads convincingly to a new interpretation of one of the region’s most thoroughly studied sites. Mississippi Archaeology

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