This grant provides the first of an expected two years of support. It allows Dr. Waselkov and his colleagues to excavate the early historic Creek Indian site of Fusihatchee which is located in Alabama. Preliminary work shows that this extremely rich and well preserved site contains undisturbed house floors and buried chache pits as well as human skeletal remains. Dr. Waselkov and his team will follow up their now complete preliminary excavations with large scale work. Mechanized equipment will strip overburden off horizontal areas and this will be followed by careful excavation. Analyses will focus on the faunal and floral materials recovered as well as the human burials, and material remains both locally produced and obtained through trade. The goal of this research is to understand how the Creek responded to European contact. When Columbus discovered the New World, the Creek constituted one of the largest and most highly organized tribes in the U.S. Southeast. By 1840 their independence has been lost. While the outcome of this interaction is not surprising, the process of interaction between Creek and European cultures is of great interest. After an initial depopulation and disruption caused by disease, it appears that Creek culture actually flourished as a result of contact. As they became part of a commercial network and supplied products such as deer skins to the European market, social complexity, status and internal differentiation actually increased. Dr. Waselkov's excavation will serve to confirm and provide new insight into this process. This research is important because it provides new insight into the effects of contact between more and less advanced social groups. In many less developed parts of the world this process still continues today and directly affects politics in such countries as the Philippines. It is important to understand how this works. Fusihatchee is also an endangered site. It has been subjected to looting and the and on which it lies will soon become a gravel pit. //

National Science Foundation (NSF)
Division of Behavioral and Cognitive Sciences (BCS)
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University of South Alabama
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