Rubbish dig casts new light on pre-Columbian village

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Under 2 feet of topsoil, the archaeology team found stained soil circles – post holes from long-gone buildings and from disposal pits. COURTESY OF TONY BOUDREAUX
Under 2 feet of topsoil, the archaeology team found stained soil circles – post holes from long-gone buildings and from disposal pits. COURTESY OF TONY BOUDREAUX

Summary from Rubbish dig casts new light on pre-Columbian village 

This past field season finding at Town Creek Indian Mound in Montgomery County, North Carolina, are leading to new interpretations of the site. The project is being led by Tony Boudreaux of East Carolina University and his student team.  Town Creek is actually the best-studied of North Carolina’s mounds but remains a mystery as the material culture of the group known as the Pee Dee seem more similar to groups in South Carolina than to neighboring groups.

This summer two feet below the surface the team found dozens of dark circular stains, remaining of post holes from buildings and disposal and storage pits. Along with pottery shards, the team also recovered some special finds the most striking a tiny corncob dating to about A.D. 1200.

[quote_center]“Early on, the interpretation of the site was strictly as a ceremonial center, inhabited by maybe two or three priests year-round,” said Rich Thompson, Town Creek site manager. “Then once a year during … a green corn celebration, people from around would be invited in. Tony’s work has shown there was just way too much activity out there for it to be a cut-off-from-the-rest-of-the-world type of place. It was difficult to break away from that early story because that’s the story it’s been for decades.”[/quote_center]

It now seems the site progressed from a small village, then a burial ground with more than 500 individuals being buried in at least 4 of the former homes. It was only then that the mound became an important place for ceremonies. It also seems that special foods, such as carrier pigeon, were reserved for mound activities perhaps for just certain religious individuals.

Summary from Rubbish dig casts new light on pre-Columbian village 

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