Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Name

Master of Arts (M.A.)

Degree Granting Department


Major Professor

Nancy Marie White, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Robert H. Tykot, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Diane Wallman, Ph.D.


portable X-ray fluorescence spectrometry, burial mounds, early Weeden Island, pXRF, Swift Creek


A thorough literature review was completed in order to construct a database of all the known Middle Woodland-period (A.D. 300-700) mounds in the Apalachicola – lower Flint and lower Chattahoochee River drainages of northwest Florida, southwest Georgia, and southeast Alabama. The database presented in this document provides both quantitative and tabular data which may be used to evaluate, describe, and compare sites within this research region as they relate to one another as well as other sites in the Southeast. Through the lens of cultural materialism, descriptive statistics were used to summarize the accumulated data and ultimately refine our understanding of Middle Woodland burial mound ceremonialism in this particular part of the Southeast. The significance of these interpretations is twofold. First, the sub-regional specificity of this dataset will permit more fine-grained analyses of human behavioral variation within the Southeast. Second, as a sub-regionally specific description of human behavior this rendering of Middle Woodland mound ceremonialism is more locally relevant than broader, regionalized definitions that rely on data from only a handful of the most heavily excavated sites in the Southeast. The data evince a distinctly localized expression of a pan-regional tradition of ritual ceremonialism that has often been described as “Hopewellian” for its similarities to traditions first observed in the Midwest. However, the expression local to the study area features the deposition of Swift Creek and early Weeden Island series ceramics together in burial mounds. In conjunction with geochemical sourcing using portable X-ray fluorescence spectrometry of ceramics from Richardson’s Hammock (8Gu10), the data suggest Swift Creek and early Weeden Island ceramics do not reflect separate cultural entities in this particular part of the Southeast during the Middle Woodland period. Rather, the data suggest that both ceramic series were being produced locally and contemporaneously by the same people.