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Little Egypt (archaeological site)

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Title: Little Egypt (archaeological site)  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Bell Field Mound Site, King Archaeological Site, List of sites and peoples visited by the Hernando de Soto Expedition, History of Georgia (U.S. state), Caborn-Welborn culture
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Little Egypt (archaeological site)

Little Egypt site
9 MU 102
Little Egypt site9 MU 102
Little Egypt site
9 MU 102
Location within Georgia today
Country  USA
Region Murray County, Georgia
Culture South Appalachian Mississippian culture
First occupied 1300 CE
Period Dallas Phase, Lamar Phase, Mouse Creek Phase
Abandoned 1600 CE
Excavation and maintenance
Responsible body private
Dates excavated 1925, 1969
Notable archaeologists Warren K. Moorehead

The Little Egypt site (9 MU 102) was an Ridge and Valley and Piedmont sections of the state in a flood plain.[2] Using Mississippian culture pottery found at the site archaeologists dated the site to the Middle and Late South Appalachinian Mississippian culture(a regional variation of the Mississippian culture) habitation from 1300 to 1600 CE during the Dallas, Lamar, and Mouse Creek phases.[1]

Site description

The site lay on a stretch of the Coosawattee River. It was a large village about 12.5 acres (0.051 km2) with three platform mounds and a plaza. Two of the mounds were over 2.5 metres (8.2 ft) in height. The main mound was built up in four stages over the course of many years. Each stage may have represented the inter-generational change from a chief to his successor. Sometime around 1475 CE the site became the capital of a paramount chiefdom ruling over numerous other local villages.[3]

Coosa capital

Route of the de Soto expedition through the Coosa chiefdom, based on the Hudson map of 1997

The Tennessee and central Alabama, and whose populations totaled in the tens of thousands. This "paramount chiefdom consisted of seven or more smaller chiefdoms, representing about 50,000 people."[1]


The Little Egypt site was excavated twice, once by Creeks then Cherokees were known to inhabit the general area, but not the mounds themselves. A.R. Kelly surveyed this location and excavated sites nearby. Hally and his team excavated several pits, 5 feet (1.5 m) by 10 feet (3.0 m) by 3 feet (0.91 m) and several trenches 3 feet (0.91 m) in width. The site consisted of two mounds and a village nearby. Mound A was 9 feet (2.7 m) in height and Mound B was 6 feet (1.8 m) in height at the time of Hally’s excavation.[2]

Features uncovered included several smudge pits for deer hide, layers of ash with food pieces in it, including both plants and animals (with an emphasis on acorns), and several hearths. The burned bone chips found in the area included: fresh water mussel shells, fish, turtle, birds (especially turkey), deer, black bear, beaver, bobcat, opossum, raccoon, and squirrel. The species were not evenly distributed throughout the site—only a limited number of them appeared in the mounds, suggesting a hierarchy of foodstuffs.[2]

Some artifacts unburied during the process of excavation include: columella beads, cut and ground antler, bone awls, a shell mask, brass rings, and copper plate fragments. Some worked stone tools were found. Rock flakes, blades, points, and bifaces were also found. Twenty distinct types of pottery sherds were found throughout the site, falling into the basic categories of Woodland, Woodstock, and Lamar designs.[2]

Several time periods were represented in the excavation. See table below.
Time Period Artifacts and Features Attributed to that Period
Early and Middle Woodland pottery sherds
Woodstock sherds and wall trenches
Little Egypt sherds, “at least one mound structure and habitable zone”
Barnett sherds, “abundant structures,” middens, and “one, possibly two mounds and a large habitation area”

See also


  1. ^ a b c "Late Prehistoric/Early Historic Chiefdoms (ca. A.D. 1300-1850)". New Georgia Encyclopedia. Retrieved 2011-12-02. 
  2. ^ a b c d Hally, David; Beverly Cooper; Janet Roth (1978), Archeological Investigation of the Little Egypt Site (9Mu102), Murray County, Georgia, 1969 Season (18), University of Georgia Laboratory of Archaeology Series 
  3. ^  

External links

  • HISTORIC PERIOD INDIAN ARCHAEOLOGY OF NORTHERN GEORGIA By Marvin T. Smith Department of Sociology and Anthropology
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