The MPP has been rather ambitious since the last update in which I shared photos of some of our more interesting unit profiles. The recording of those profiles was essentially the final task that had to be completed before backfilling those units. Once accomplished, we opened five new units at locations scattered throughout the western plaza: three more to test possible structure walls and two to help tease apart the complexities of the magnetic signals revealed within the large “circular anomaly.” A fair amount has happened in the last three weeks, but I’ll bring you up to speed on some of it in this post.
Of the three units placed over possible structure walls, one exposed a straight-walled pit of unknown function and two exposed wall sections of burned wattle-and-daub buildings. These latter features appeared as dark gray (magnetic high) anomalies.
The burning afforded a startling degree of preservation – we recovered intact pine posts and sizable sections of the split-cane mats once fastened to them. A thin but artifact-rich midden (trash heap) was found overlying the architectural remains in one of the units. It yielded several large pottery sherds, including enough pieces from one serving dish to just about fully reconstruct it. Designs on these pieces of pottery suggest that the burning of this structure dates to the latter part of Moundville’s history long after the town’s defensive palisade had fallen into ruin.
The project is nearing its end. Tomorrow is the last official day, but we’ll be in the field for a couple of days next week to finish up the odd jobs that remain. I’ll have a couple more updates for you all before it’s over!