Recent Developments in Southeastern Archaeology

In this presentation, professor Anderson will discuss the wide range of exciting discoveries that have occurred in Southeastern archaeology in recent years, a region in the forefront of research on a host of important research questions.

Archaeological work is helping us understand the origins of agriculture and why people started raising crops, since the Southeast is one of only a few places on earth where people domesticated local plants. The region also saw the rise and fall of complex societies long before contact with the Old World began in earnest in the 16th century, and helps us understand why these changes took place. We have learned that the mounds occurring widely over the landscape were built with great care and ceremony, that caves in the region hosted remarkable artwork, and that people were living on the now-submerged continental shelf long before the modern era.

Fieldwork has also enabled us to know that complex mound building societies were present in the region more than 5000 years ago, long before similar kinds of monumental architecture appeared in other parts of the continent.

Revolutionary developments in data collection and information management are allowing us understand when and where people were living on the landscape, and what they were doing. We are learning that with remote sensing procedures we don’t need to dig to have a good idea of what exists below the ground surface in many places, although we still need to dig to truly understand what we are seeing with these technologies.