Date of Award


Document Type

Open Access Thesis



First Advisor

Charles R. Cobb

Second Advisor

Adam King


This thesis is an iconographic study of Burial 38 from Mound C at the Etowah, a Mississippian mound site in present-day Northwest Georgia. The goal of this study was to gain an understanding of the iconographic meaning of the artifacts in Burial 38 as well as the significance of the arrangement of individuals within the burial and its relationship with Mound C more broadly. Applying theories of relational ontology, performance, and gender, I build on King’s (2010) interpretation of Mound C’s final construction phases as a ritual event that transformed the mound into a sacred center, melded foreign and local ideology, and created or legitimized new social roles. When viewed as ritual performance, the final Mound C burials offer an archaeological window into how people in the past used people, objects, space, and history to create or change their identity. Using iconographic analysis and osteological information, I argue that Burial 38 was a secondary burial made up of previously bundled artifacts. Once interred in the mound, Burial 38 itself became a larger bundle.

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