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Etowah  

David S. Brose

Site in north-west Georgia, USA, where a densely occupied, haphazardly planned agricultural village flourished in the Mississippian period (c. ad 1000–c. 1600). It covers 21 ha at the junction of the southern Appalachian Mountains and the piedmont, at the major fork of the Coosa River. The site was surrounded by palisades with outworks. Within the village area were three large mounds arranged around an open plaza. Mound A, the largest, has a ramp. Both it and Mound B are flat-topped pyramidal structures, presumably built to support temple buildings. Excavations in Mound C (intermittent since 1884) reveal it to have been built in at least three stages, during the construction of which over 300 burials were interred.

In the last stage, after c. ad 1400, only a few socially élite burials (including rather impoverished retainers) were placed in a tomb dug below the floor of a temple on Mound C’s final summit. Large carved stone cult statues marked the entrance to the burial chamber. The élite individuals were fully dressed in ritual costumes and were accompanied by ...