Blackland Prairies of the Gulf Coastal Plain: Nature, Culture and Sustainability

Overview

This comprehensive study of one of the most ecologically rich regions of the Southeast underscores the relevance of archaeological research in understanding long-term cultural change.

Taking a holistic approach, this compilation gathers ecological, historical, and archaeological research written on the distinctive region of the Southeast called the Gulf coast blackland prairie. Ranging from the last glacial period to the present day, the case studies provide a broad picture of ...

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Overview

This comprehensive study of one of the most ecologically rich regions of the Southeast underscores the relevance of archaeological research in understanding long-term cultural change.

Taking a holistic approach, this compilation gathers ecological, historical, and archaeological research written on the distinctive region of the Southeast called the Gulf coast blackland prairie. Ranging from the last glacial period to the present day, the case studies provide a broad picture of how the area has changed through time and been modified by humans, first with nomadic bands of Indians trailing the grazing animals and then by Euro-American settlers who farmed the rich agricultural area. Contemporary impacts include industrialization, aquaculture, population growth, land reclamation, and wildlife management.

It is believed that the Black Belt and the Great Plains were contiguous in the past and shared the same prairie vegetation, insects, and large fauna, such as bison. Swaths and patches of limestone-based soils still weave a biological corridor through what is now Alabama, Mississippi, Arkansas, Louisiana, and Texas. In analyzing this distinct grassland ecosystem, the essays compare both the mega and minute flora and fauna sustained by the land in the past and present; reveal what foods were harvested by early inhabitants, their gathering techniques, and diet changes over the 10,000-year period of native occupancy; survey the documents of early explorers for descriptions of the landform, its use, and the lives of inhabitants at the time of contact; and look at contemporary efforts to halt abuse and reverse damage to this unique and shrinking biome.

This book demonstrates that the blackland prairie has always been an important refuge for a teeming array of biological species, including humans. It will have wide scholarly appeal as well as general interest and will be welcomed by archaeologists, biologists, botanists, ecologists, historians, librarians, politicians, land managers, and national, state, and local administrators.

Evan Peacock is Assistant Professor of Anthropology at Mississippi State University and a contributor to The Woodland Southeast. Timothy Schauwecker is a biologist with Mississippi State University.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780817312152
  • Publisher: University of Alabama Press
  • Publication date: 3/28/2003
  • Pages: 348
  • Sales rank: 890,967
  • Product dimensions: 9.25 (w) x 6.13 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Evan Peacock is Assistant Professor at Anthropology at Mississippi State University and a contributor to The Woodland Southeat.

Timothy Schauwecker is a biologist with Mississippi State University.

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Table of Contents

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Tables
1 Introduction: The Nature, Culture, and Sustainability of Blackland Prairies 1
2 Paleoenvironment and Biogeography of the Mississippi Black Belt: Evidence from Insects 11
3 Terrestrial Gastropods from Archaeological Contexts in the Black Belt Province of Mississippi 27
4 The Application of a Small-mammal Model in Paleoenvironmental Analysis 48
5 A Comparison of Three Methods of Paleoenvironmental Analysis at an Archaeological Site on the Mississippi Black Prairie 64
6 Louisiana Prairies 80
7 Blackland Prairie Landscapes of Southwestern Arkansas: Historical Perspective, Present Status, and Restoration Potential 94
8 A Plant Community Classification for Arkansas's Blackland Prairie Ecosystem 110
9 Plant and Soil Interactions in Prairie Remnants of the Jackson Prairie Region, Mississippi 146
10 Prehistoric Settlement Patterning on the Mississippi Black Prairie 167
11 Water-resource Controls on Human Habitation in the Black Prairie of North-Central Mississippi 194
12 Osage Orange Bows, Indian Horses, and the Blackland Prairie of Northeastern Texas 212
13 Rediscovery and Management of Prairie Remnants of the Bienville National Forest, East-Central Mississippi 239
14 Plant Assemblage Response to Disturbance at a Blackland Prairie Restoration Site in Northeastern Mississippi 246
15 Restoration of a Prairie Remnant in the Black Belt of Mississippi 254
16 Priorities for the Future: Planning for Sustainable Multiple Use 262
17 Conclusion: Theory and Applications in the Study of Human/Nature Interactions 279
References Cited 283
Contributors 337
Index 343
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