Date of Award

Summer 8-2010

Degree Type

Masters Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


Anthropology and Sociology


Social Science and Global Studies

Committee Chair

H. Edwin Jackson

Committee Chair Department

Anthropology and Sociology

Committee Chair School

Social Science and Global Studies

Committee Member 2

Bridget Hayden

Committee Member 2 Department

Anthropology and Sociology

Committee Member 2 School

Social Science and Global Studies

Committee Member 3

Mac H. Alford

Committee Member 3 Department

Biological Sciences

Committee Member 3 School

Biological, Environmental, and Earth Sciences


Winterville Mounds (22WS500), a multi-mound site in the Yazoo Basin located just north of Greenville, Mississippi, is representative of Mississippian culture in the lower Mississippi River valley. Botanical macroremains from flotation samples from two large pit features from the Winterville site have been chosen for this study: Feature 113, a large midden, and Feature 5, a refuse pit. Both pits appear to have been created through the disposal of leftovers generated from ritual feasting events, and their proximity to their respective mounds may indicate these events were hosted by the mound summit residents. Temporally, the two pits bracket the occupation of the site, with Feature 113 dating to the beginning of mound building at Winterville and Feature 5 dating near the end of site occpation. Native starcy and oily seed crops were used both early and late in the Winterville occupation, although nuts, particularly acorns, remained an important resource for the inhabitants. Comparisons of the two features indicate that although maize was a staple item early in the Winterville site occupation, it may well have increased with time, supplanting native seed crops and acorns to some extent, but never completely replacing either. It is worth nothing that a significant portion of the information obtained in this study is the result of processing the samples using flotation, including the recovery of more than 1700 coneflower seeds (Rudbeckia amplexicaulis), the significance of which is undetermined.

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