A Vestige of The Late Archaic: Perthshire Mound (Mississippi)

The Conservancy saves another endangered ancient mound.

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The eight-foot-high Perthshire Mound is covered by trees. Credit: Archaeological Conservancy.
The eight-foot-high Perthshire Mound is covered by trees. Credit: Archaeological Conservancy.

The Perthshire Mound site, named for the community in Mississippi in which it’s located, was first officially recorded in 1940. Unfortunately, there are no photos of the site and no sketch map from this recording. The site description simply states that there are two mounds with a highway separating them. The mound on the west side of the highway was approximately eight-feet high, and the mound on the east side was about six. Both mounds were surrounded by cotton fields. Shortly after the site was recorded and before even a rudimentary surface collection could be done, the east-side mound was destroyed to facilitate cotton production. But the other mound has remained intact, and was owned by a member of the Knowlton family, who also owned the land back in 1940.

The Perthshire Mound site has been in the Knowlton family for many years and it was one of the plantations documented by photographer Marion Post Wolcott, a photographer for the
Farm Security Administration, in 1939 and 1940. Her photographs depict the lives of those who were tenants on the plantation and the work required to cultivate cotton in the 1930s and 1940s.

Perthshire Mound and the land around it has been home to generations of Mississippians, both prehistorically and historically, and in order to ensure its preservation, owner Sam
Knowlton recently donated the mound to the Conservancy. It now joins the nearby Blanchard Mound site, which the Conservancy also acquired.

This excerpt was published in our SUMMER 2018  Issue of American Archaeology. Browse the article excerpts in our last issue SUMMER 2018 Issue.

American Archaeology Magazine is available on newsstands and at bookstores. Subscriptions are available by becoming a Member of the Archaeological Conservancy for an annual Donation of $30 dollars.

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