Bottle Creek: A Pensacola Culture Site in South Alabama

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Consisting of 18 earthen mounds and numerous additional habitation areas dating to A.D. 1250-1550, the Bottle Creek site was first professionally investigated in 1932 when David L. DeJarnette of the Alabama Museum of Natural History began work there to determine if the site had a cultural relationship with Moundville, connected to the north by a river system. Although partially mapped in the 1880s, Bottle Creek's location in the vast Mobile-Tensaw Delta of Baldwin County completely surrounded by swamp made it inaccessible and protected it from most of the plunder experienced by similar sites in the Southeast.

This volume builds on earlier investigations to present extensive recent data from major excavations conducted from 1991 to 1994 and supported in part by an NEH grant. Ten anthropologists examine various aspects of the site, including mound architecture, prehistoric diet, pottery classification, vessel forms, textiles used to make pottery impressions, a microlithic stone tool industry, water travel, the persistence of mound use into historic times, and the position of Bottle Creek in the protohistoric world.

The site is concluded to be the best remaining example of Pensacola culture, an archaeological variant of the widespread Mississippian tradition identified by a shell-tempered pottery complex and by its geographic association with the north-central coast of the Gulf of Mexico. Occupied for three centuries by a thriving native culture, Bottle Creek is an important remnant of North American peoples and as such is designated a National Historic Landmark. This published compilation of the research data should establish a base for future scholarly investigation and interpretation.

A Dan Josselyn Memorial Publication

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Brown clearly understands the need for even reports of investigations to be readable. Moreover, all the specialists have taken great care to present their data in a fashion that is both evidentiary and understandable by the nonspecialist. As a general archaeologist, I appreciate the efforts of the specialists to explain their findings in lucid prose and put those findings in context. This volume is an excellent compendium of recent work at an important but still little-known site." — Southeastern Archaeology

"This is a significant volume for specialists in the Southeast, the Gulf Coast, wetland archaeology, chiefdoms, and other areas." — American Antiquity

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780817312190
  • Publisher: University of Alabama Press
  • Publication date: 3/28/2003
  • Pages: 368
  • Product dimensions: 6.13 (w) x 9.25 (h) x 1.20 (d)

Meet the Author

Ian W. Brown is professor of anthropology at the University of Alabama and Curator of Gulf Coast Archaeology at the
Alabama Museum of Natural History. He has numerous publications, including Decorated Pottery of the Lower Mississippi
Valley: A Sorting Manual.
David S. Brose is director of the Schiele Museum of Natural History in North Carolina and coeditor of The Northwest Florida Expeditions of Clarence Bloomfield Moore and Societies in Eclipse.

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Table of Contents

List of Figures
List of Tables
1 Introduction to the Bottle Creek Site 1
2 Out of the Moundville Shadow: The Origin and Evolution of Pensacola Culture 27
3 A Proposed Construction Sequence of the Mound B Terrace at Bottle Creek 63
4 Historic Aboriginal Reuse of a Mississippian Mound, Mound L at Bottle Creek 84
5 Food Plant Remains from Excavations in Mounds A, B, C, D, and L at Bottle Creek 103
6 The Use of Plants in Mound-Related Activities at Bottle Creek and Moundville 114
7 Zooarchaeological Remains from Bottle Creek 130
8 A Functional Comparison of Pottery Vessel Shapes from Bottle Creek 156
9 The Bottle Creek Microlithic Industry 168
10 Matting and Pliable Fabrics from Bottle Creek 180
11 Water Travel and Mississippian Settlement at Bottle Creek 194
12 Concluding Thoughts on Bottle Creek and Its Position in the Mississippian World 205
App. A Archaeological Phases Represented at the Bottle Creek Site 227
App. B Radiocarbon Dates Secured at the Bottle Creek Site 231
References Cited 233
Contributors 261
Index 265
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