Title

Evidence for the Presence of an Archaic Ritual Mortuary Complex in Vermillion County, Indiana

Presenter Information

David Davis

Document Type

Oral Presentation

Location

SURC Ballroom C/D

Start Date

15-5-2014

End Date

15-5-2014

Keywords

lithics, mounds, projectile points

Abstract

In 1975, the author discovered nineteen lithic artifacts, ranging from scrapers to projectile points, protruding from a weathered circular mound in Vermillion County, Indiana. Subsequent investigations since 2011 using Google Earth have revealed the probable presence of multiple mounds, two of which appear to be serpent effigy mounds, as well as a possible stone circle. Scholars believe that effigy mounds were primarily for religious purposes, although some also fulfill a burial mound function. The artifacts, which have been identified by type and assigned date ranges based on comparative analysis, evidence a date range which covers the greater part of the Archaic Period, and the entire Woodland Period. Preliminary research shows evidence of some artifactual similarity to the Terminal Archaic Riverton culture (1500-700 BC) of the Lower Wabash Valley. This cultural manifestation, primarily represented in southwestern Indiana, was part of the Interior Valley Archaic encompassing the Ohio, Cumberland, Tennessee, Green, and Wabash rivers, and their tributaries. Interior Valley Archaic cultures are characterized by a micro-tool industry, shell middens, living on mounds in the floodplains, mounds used for burials, and the beginnings of plant domestication. This project represents the beginning of an effort, geared toward site protection and potential future archaeological research.

For this presentation, David Davis received a College of the Sciences Best Poster Presentation Award for 2014.

Poster Number

44

Faculty Mentor(s)

McCutcheon, Patrick

Additional Mentoring Department

Anthropology and Museum Studies

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May 15th, 11:30 AM May 15th, 2:00 PM

Evidence for the Presence of an Archaic Ritual Mortuary Complex in Vermillion County, Indiana

SURC Ballroom C/D

In 1975, the author discovered nineteen lithic artifacts, ranging from scrapers to projectile points, protruding from a weathered circular mound in Vermillion County, Indiana. Subsequent investigations since 2011 using Google Earth have revealed the probable presence of multiple mounds, two of which appear to be serpent effigy mounds, as well as a possible stone circle. Scholars believe that effigy mounds were primarily for religious purposes, although some also fulfill a burial mound function. The artifacts, which have been identified by type and assigned date ranges based on comparative analysis, evidence a date range which covers the greater part of the Archaic Period, and the entire Woodland Period. Preliminary research shows evidence of some artifactual similarity to the Terminal Archaic Riverton culture (1500-700 BC) of the Lower Wabash Valley. This cultural manifestation, primarily represented in southwestern Indiana, was part of the Interior Valley Archaic encompassing the Ohio, Cumberland, Tennessee, Green, and Wabash rivers, and their tributaries. Interior Valley Archaic cultures are characterized by a micro-tool industry, shell middens, living on mounds in the floodplains, mounds used for burials, and the beginnings of plant domestication. This project represents the beginning of an effort, geared toward site protection and potential future archaeological research.

For this presentation, David Davis received a College of the Sciences Best Poster Presentation Award for 2014.