Center Places and Cherokee Towns serves as an excellent example of using multiple lines of evidence to examine phenomena of diachronic change in archaeological research. Using archaeological and primary documentary data as well as nineteenth-century Cherokee oral history, Christopher B. Rodning examines the correlations between social relationships and spatial configurations of Native towns during the precontact and contact eras. At Coweeta Creek and other Cherokee sites across southern Appalachia, “center places” were created through the construction of earthen mounds, formalized architecture, and carefully placed and maintained hearths. Together, the components of central places anchored people to a social landscape and identity.

Rodning argues that social and historical dimensions of places can be discerned through anthropological examination of how the built environment reflects cultural conceptions of landscape and community in Cherokee settlements, ethnohistory, and myth. The conclusions presented in this book derive from...

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