Cherokee ArchaeologyA Study of the Appalachian Summit
Keel, Bennie C.
Paper Edition, $26.00s
Paper ISBN: 0-87049-546-1
Status: In Print
DescriptionThe Appalachian Summit is the southernmost and highest part of the Appalachian mountain system. It is also the ancient home of the Cherokee Indians. The archaeology of the region has been poorly understood, however, primarily because the details of the archaeological remains of the prehistoric Cherokees and their antecedents have been virtually unknown. In Cherokee Archaeology Bennie keel closes this longstanding gap in the study of the archaeology of North America by presenting and examining a wealth of recently excavated material evidence of the prehistoric peoples who once lived in the area.
From data gathered at the excavation sites of Tuckasegee, Garden Creek Mound No. 2, and Warren Wilson, Professor keel formulates a stratigraphically derived cultural sequence which extends from about 3500 B.C. to the historic period. Although he includes and summarizes preceding and succeeding culture phases in his study, his focus is on the three phases of the Woodland cultural tradition – the Swannanoa phase (circa 600 or 700 B.C. to 200 B.C.), characterized by cord marked and fabric impressed pottery points; the Pigeon phase (circa 200 B.C. to A.D. 200), in which the ceramics are generally check stamped and associated with small side notched arrow points; and the Connestee phase (circa A.D. 200 to A.D. 1000), which saw an elaboration of elements present in the earlier two Woodland phases.
Dealing with the mechanics of cultural change as seen in the archaeological record is a difficult task. Attempting to isolate casual factors of such change, as Professor Keel does in Cherokee Archaeology, is even more difficult. For his study of the Appalachian Summit Area he ahs favored an in situ development hypothesis for Cherokee culture, since the three phases that he identified and defined have great numbers of elements in common. It is his belief that the continuity of traits through time and the similarity between one cultural phase and another reinforce the interpretation of an evolutionary continuum in the area. Showing a firm grasp on prehistoric cultural development, he has provided archaeologists with a vast amount of detailed evidence that will be an enduring and invaluable source for future study of the cultures of the prehistoric Cherokees.
Bennie C. Keel is associate professor of anthropology at Wright State University in Dayton, Ohio. Previously he served as archaeologist at the Research laboratories of Anthropology at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Cherokee Anthropology is based on research carried out there under the supervision of Dr. Joffre L. Coe. Professor Keel received the Ph.D. in anthropology from Washington State University.
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