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Book: Pedological Perspectives in Archaeological Research
Published by: Soil Science Society of America



  1.  p. 133-149
    SSSA Special Publication 44.
    Pedological Perspectives in Archaeological Research

    Mary E. Collins, Brian J. Carter, Bruce G. Gladfelter and Randal J. Southard (ed.)

    ISBN: 978-0-89118-939-8


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Phosphate Imprinting Within Mound A At the Huntsville Site

  1. Jonathan P. Kerr
  1. Cultural Resource Analysts, Lexington, Kentucky
    University of Arkansas, Fayetteville, Arkansas


The Huntsville site is a Caddoan (1250–1400 A.D.), civic-ceremonial center in northwest Arkansas. A trench was excavated in Mound A at the site revealing numerous construction episodes and the remains of several charnel houses, structures used for temporary interment of the dead. Levels of inorganic phosphates in mound sediments confirmed that the mound was human-made and that the site could be distinguished from its natural surroundings. While specific activities associated with particular stratigraphic units in the mound could not be determined, general interpretations of mound stratigraphic unit and feature functions were possible. The analysis of inorganic phosphate levels also was useful for delineating activity areas and feature boundaries on a living surface within the mound. The analysis suggested that bony material was deposited on this surface that represented a structure floor. Removal of the bodies from the charnel structure was not complete; small bones were probably inadvertently left behind. It is likely that ritual cleaning of the floor of the structure redeposited the small bones near the structure walls.

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