Medicines At Moundville: an Intrasite Assessment of the Moundville Cemeteries

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This research investigates expressions of group identity and social cohesion at the Moundville Archaeological site, a large Mississippian mound center in the Black Warrior River Valley (BWRV) of west-central Alabama. The mortuary program at Moundville has been extensively examined for evidence of status-based social differentiation, viewed from a perspective of hierarchical political organization. My analysis, a biocultural intrasite assessment of mortuary ritual at the center, investigated the construction and use of interment areas at Moundville from representative, spatial, and ontological perspectives. Data on interment location, composition, and associated accoutrements were examined from applied categories of medicine making including curing, hunting, renewal, and war. I argue that the ceremonial landscape was one deliberately crafted for community-centric renewal ritual, and later inundated with war medicine that necessitated a balance of esoteric and community ritual engagement including, but not limited to, the enactment of the mortuary program.

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