“A substantive addition to our knowledge about one of the premier archaeological sites in eastern North America.”—George Milner, author of The Cahokia Chiefdom


“Brings fresh thinking into a well-trod path of scholarship and goes well beyond the confines of the specialties of subsistence, settlement, and technology to shed light on the social function of the Moundville site. An enjoyable read for those who relish the interplay between social and political concepts and archaeological data.”—James A. Brown, author of The Spiro Ceremonial Center: The Archaeology of Arkansas Valley Caddoan Culture in Eastern Oklahoma


Moundville, near Tuscaloosa, Alabama, is one of the largest pre-Columbian mound sites in North America. Comprising twenty-nine earthen mounds that were once platforms for chiefly residences and public buildings, Moundville was a major political and religious center for the people living in its region and for the wider Mississippian world.

A much-needed synthesis of the rapidly expanding archaeological work that has taken place in the region over the past two decades, Rethinking Moundville and Its Hinterland presents the results of multifaceted research and new excavations. Using models deeply rooted in local ethnohistory, it ties Moundville and its people more closely than before to the ethnography of native southerners and emphasizes the role of social memory, iconography, and ritual practices both at the mound center and in the rural hinterland, providing an up-to-date and refreshingly nuanced interpretation of Mississippian culture.

Vincas P. Steponaitis, professor of anthropology and director of the Research Laboratories of Archaeology at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, is coauthor of Archaeology of the Moundville Chiefdom. C. Margaret Scarry, professor of anthropology at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, is editor of Foraging and Farming in the Eastern Woodlands.

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