Date of Award
M.A. in Anthropology
Sociology and Anthropology
Jay K. Johnson
The Austin Site (22TU549) is a village site located in Tunica County, Mississippi dating to approximately A.D. 1150-1350, along the transition from the Terminal Late Woodland to the Mississippian period. While Elizabeth Hunt’s (2017) masters thesis concluded that the ceramics at Austin emphasized a Late Woodland persistence, the architecture and use of space at the site had yet to be analyzed. This study examines this architecture and use of space over time at Austin to determine if they display evidence of increasing institutionalized inequality. This included creating a map of Austin based on John Connaway’s original excavation notes, and then analyzing this map within the temporal context of the upper Yazoo Basin. Based on five chronometric dates, reconstructed houses, and Hunt’s ceramic analyses from Austin’s pit features, this study created a chronology for Austin, identifying which households were likely the oldest at the site and how they relate to the rest of the village. This resulted in the identification of the oldest households excavated at the site, which may have established the mound as well as differentiated status at Austin. Additionally, this study places this analysis within the cultural context of the broader upper Yazoo Basin, displaying Austin’s changing role in this region during the Early Mississippian period. This study support’s Hunt’s conclusion that Austin is an example of “independent co-existence” in which the initial Late Woodland households at Austin adapted to changing regional circumstances while simultaneously maintaining and retaining many facets of their Late Woodland material culture. These changes, however, saw the inhabitants incorporating some typical traits of Mississippian sites, such as defensive stockades and status differentiation between households, in order to manage the rising tensions of a changing region.
Davis, Benjamin Garrett, "Households and Changing Use of Space at the Transitional Early Mississippian Austin Site" (2019). Electronic Theses and Dissertations. 1570.