On Thursday, June 20, at 6 p.m. at the Grand Village of the Natchez Indians, Megan Kassabaum will give a free presentation titled “News from Smith Creek: Exploring the Early Woodland Occupation."
Kassabaum has led the University of Pennsylvania’s Smith Creek Archaeological Project since 2015.The Smith Creek Mound site is located in Wilkinson County and sits along the bluffs overlooking the Mississippi River. The site was known to have been utilized from 700 to 1000 CE, and recent field work uncovered a later phase of occupation dated from 1000 to 1300 CE, as well as an earlier phase dating back to at least 200 BCE.
The early occupation was an unexpected find, and Kassabaum will discuss how this has the potential to increase understanding of the Early Woodland period in the Natchez Bluffs.
Kassabaum began conducting archaeological research in southwest Mississippi in 2006, working at such sites as Pumpkin Lake and Feltus in Jefferson County and Smith Creek and Lessley in Wilkinson County, where she will continue her work this summer. She is an assistant professor of anthropology at the University of Pennsylvania and is the Weingarten Assistant Curator for North America at the University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology. She holds a BA degree from Beloit College and a PhD in anthropology from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, presenting a dissertation on feasting and communal ritual in the Lower Mississippi Valley.
The Grand Village of the Natchez Indians was the main ceremonial mound center of the Natchez people from 1682 until 1730. The 128-acre National Historic Landmark features three mounds, a plaza, nature trail, museum, and store. Administered by the Mississippi Department of Archives and History, the Grand Village is located at 400 Jefferson Davis Boulevard and is open free of charge to the public from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday and Sundays 1:30 to 5 p.m. Call 601-446-6502 or email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
Students excavating at the 2018 Smith Creek Archaeological Project field school. Image courtesy of Megan Kassabaum.