Center Places and Cherokee Towns: Archaeological Perspectives on Native American Architecture and Landscape in the Southern Appalachians
By Christopher B. Rodning
(University of Alabama Press, 2015; 272 pgs., illus., $60 cloth or ebook; www.uapress.ua.edu)
Tulane University archaeologist Christopher Rodning builds on his own work at the Coweeta Creek site in North Carolina to develop a picture of Cherokee towns in the southern Appalachians from about A.D. 1400 to 1700, the period just before and during Cherokee contact with Europeans. Focusing on the built environment including hearths, burials, and earthen mounds and embankments, he makes a case for the importance of the “center place” in shaping Cherokee identity.
Concentrating on village architecture, Rodning illustrates how the arrangement of public structures and households shaped Cherokee culture, providing stability through the initial trials of European contact. Drawing on historical accounts, myths and folklore, oral histories, and archaeological investigations, he demonstrates the importance of the natural and the built environment. Center Places and Cherokee Towns is a readable and important addition to a growing body of literature that builds on the cultural landscape.
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