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A map showing the geographical extent of the Plaquemine cultural period.

The Plaquemine culture was an archaeological culture in the lower Mississippi River Valley in western Mississippi and eastern Louisiana. Good examples of this culture are the Medora Site( the type site for the culture and period) in West Baton Rouge Parish, Louisiana, and the Anna, Emerald Mound, Winterville and Holly Bluff sites located in Mississippi.[1] Plaquemine culture was contemporaneous with the Middle Mississippian culture in the Cahokia site in St. Loius, Missouri. It is considered ancestral to the Natchez and Taensa Peoples.[2 ]




Architecture and mounds

2 mounds superimposed on top of Emerald Mound
Mounds and wattle and daub house from Grand Village of the Natchez

The Plaquemine Culture occupied the rest of Louisiana not taken by the Caddo culture during this time frame and are considered descendants of the Troyville-Coles Creek culture.[2 ] A prominent feature of Plaquemine sites are large ceremonial centers with two or more large mounds facing an open plaza. The flat-topped, pyramidal mounds were constructed in several stages. Sometimes they were topped by one or two smaller mounds. Mounds were often built on top of the ruins of a house or temple and similar buildings were usually constructed on top of the mound. In earlier times, buildings were usually circular, but later they were likely to be rectangular. They were constructed of wattle and daub, and sometimes with wall posts sunk into foot-deep wall trenches. At times, shallow, oval or rectangular graves were dug in the mounds. These might have been for primary burials, but more often they were for the reburial of remains originally interred elsewhere.[3]


Pottery from the Grand Village of the Natchez

One kind of pottery occasionally placed in the graves is called "killed" pottery. This type has a hole in the base of the vessel that was cut while the pot was being made, usually before it was fired. They also decorated their pots in other characteristic ways. They sometimes added small solid handles called lugs and textured the surface by brushing clumps of grass over the vessel before it was fired. They often cut designs into the surface of the wet clay, and like their Caddo contemporaries, the Plaquemine peoples engraved designs on pots after they were fired. Plaquemine peoples also had undecorated pots that they used for ordinary daily tasks.[3]. Pottery during this phase still used dry clay particles a tempering material, with the use of ground shell being a marker for Mississippian cultural contact.[4]

Plaquemine sites

Site Image Description
Anna Site File:No Image available A Plaquemine/Mississippian site near Natchez, Mississippi
Emerald Mound Site Emerald Mound A Plaquemine/Mississippian site approx. 8 miles from the Mississippi town of Natchez. The second largest pre-columbian structure in the USA
Grand Village of the Natchez or Fatherland Site Grand Village of the Natchez A Plaquemine/Mississippian site located in the present town of Natchez, Mississippi, one of the very few mound culture sites still in use during the historic period
Holly Bluff Site Holly Bluff site A Plaquemine/Mississippian site from central western Mississippi, sometimes known as the Lake George Site
Medora Site Medora site A Plaquemine site in West Baton Rouge Parish, Louisiana, from which many Plaquemine culture characteristics were defined
Winterville Site Winterville Site A Plaquemine/Mississippian site near Greenville, Mississippi

See also

Preceded by
Coles Creek culture
Plaquemine culture
1200 CE-1400CE
Succeeded by
Mississippian culture


  1. ^ "Mississippian and Late Prehistoric Period". Retrieved 2008-09-08.  
  2. ^ a b "The Plaquemine Culture, A.D 1000". Retrieved 2008-09-08.  
  3. ^ a b "Plaquemine-Mississippian". Retrieved 2008-09-08.  
  4. ^ Brain, Jeffrey P.: "Winterville-Late Prehistoric Culture Contact in the Lower Mississippi Valley". Misissippi Department of Archives and History, 1989.
  • Hudson, Charles M., Knights of Spain, Warriors of the Sun: Hernando De Soto and the South's Ancient Chiefdoms, University of Georgia Press, 1997. ISBN 0-8203-1888-4
  • R. Barry Lewis and Charles Stout, editors., "Mississippian Towns and Sacred Spaces", University of Alabama Press, 1998. ISBN 0-8173-0947-0
  • Jeffrey P. Brain, "Winterville-Late Prehistoric Culture Contact in the Lower Mississippi Valley",Mississippi Department of Archives and History, 1989.
  • Mark A. Rees and Patrick C. Livingood, editors., "Plaquemine Archaeology", University of Alabama Press, 2006. ISBN 978-0817353667

External links


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