The glass site (22wr502): an investigation of Plaquemine culture architecture, occupation, and interaction in the northern portion of the Natchez Bluffs Region, Mississippi
This dissertation reports the results of a multi-year archaeological study of Plaquemine culture in the Natchez Bluffs region in west-central Mississippi undertaken by the Gulf Coast Survey of the Alabama Museum of Natural History. The focus of this project, the Glass site (22Wr502), is a late-prehistoric Plaquemine culture mound center located in the northern portion of the Natchez Bluffs. Prior to the current study, little was known of Plaquemine occupation in the northern half of the Natchez Bluffs, especially when compared to our current knowledge of contemporary Plaquemine and Mississippian components in surrounding regions of the Lower Mississippi Valley. Archaeological excavations were conducted on the summit and base of the principal mound (A) at Glass in the summers 2007, 2008, and 2009. The prime purpose of this project is to investigate two late prehistoric burned wattle and daub structures (A.D. 1500-1650), which initially were detected on top of Mound A during testing and small-scale excavation of the site in 2007. Analyses of the architectural features and the artifact assemblage associated with these structures provide valuable data on elite occupation and cultural interaction at the site. The excavation of these structures adds to our knowledge of how elite architecture, such as temples or chief's houses, may have functioned in Plaquemine society. Excavations also were conducted at the base of Mound A in order to determine the chronology of mound building and the nature of artifacts associated with elite structures at the site. The results of this research are compared with that known from the southern half of the Natchez Bluffs, as well as the neighboring Lower Yazoo Basin, Upper Tensas Basin, and Lower Big Black regions, with the ultimate goal of better understanding Plaquemine culture in the Lower Mississippi Valley.