The anthropology of St. Catherines Island. 2, The Refuge-Deptford mortuary complex. Anthropological papers of the AMNH ; v. 56, pt. 1

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New York : American Museum of Natural History
"Data and implications from nine burial mounds excavated by crews of the American Museum of Natural History on St. Catherines Island, Georgia, are given in this monograph. As a group, these nine sites define a surprisingly homogeneous pattern and these data comprise virtually all that is known regarding the mortuary customs practiced along the Georgia and Florida coast between ca. 1500 B.C. to A.D. 600. The sites are rather unspectacular sand mounds, which exhibit a remarkably consistent stratigraphic patterning. The skeletal materials recovered are poorly preserved, except in the rare case when shell was added to the interment. The radiocarbon evidence, consisting of 29 determinations from the nine mounds, strongly suggests a marked periodicity in the use of these sites. In all cases, the areas seem to have been visited for centuries - in some cases millenia - prior to the actual construction of the mortuary mound. Several graves were placed into this pre-mound surface, and mound-building activities occurred at all sites sometime during the first 600 years A.D. A number of intrusive burials were added shortly thereafter, and then ceremonial activities virtually ceased at all sites. Most cultural materials found inside the mounds were accidental inclusions which resulted from pre-mound sacred (and probably secular) activities. Very few deliberate grave offerings were found. The biocultural evidence suggests that the Refuge-Deptford population enjoyed good health, although they suffered from an extreme rate of dental attrition. Although the data are limited, these sites seem to reflect an egalitarian sociopolitical organization operative during Refuge-Deptford times. The relatively high proportion of bundle burials seems to suggest that the annual round of these peoples exploited both island and mainland resources. We offer a number of cautious speculations regarding the nature of ritual and symbolism during the Refuge and Deptford phases. These suggestions are a variety of hypotheses that require testing with data from both mortuary and habitation sites of this period"--P. 5.
179 p. : ill., maps ; 26 cm.
AMNH Library's copies lack t.p.
Includes bibliographical references (p. 173-179).
Mortuary archaeology on the Georgia coast / David Hurst Thomas and Clark Spencer Larsen -- Archaeological techniques and procedures / David Hurst Thomas and Clark Spencer Larsen -- The Cunningham Mound group / David Hurst Thomas, Clark Spencer Larsen, and Ann Marie Lunsford -- Seaside Mound group / David Hurst Thomas, Clark Spencer Larsen, and Ann Marie Lunsford -- Ceramics / Chester B. DePratter -- Comparisons / David Hurst Thomas -- Implications and some speculations / David Hurst Thomas -- Appendix. Seasonal growth variations in the shells of recent and prehistoric specimens of Mercenaria mercenaria from St. Catherines Island, Georgia / George R. Clark II.