November 14, 2015 Penn Museum: Megan Kassabaum, Assistant Professor, Department of Anthropology, University of Pennsylvania, and Assistant Curator, American Section, Penn Museum: "The Creation and Use of Early Platform Mounds: Evidence from the Deep South"
     Moundbuilding has a long history in the American South, possibly beginning as early as 5000 BC.  Around AD 700, an important shift in moundbuilding practices takes place.  This shift to the construction of platform mounds is often assumed to be associated with parallel shifts in economic, social, and political changes within the mound building communities. Recent research at two mound centers constructed during this time has suggested that the relationship between these various shifts is more complicated than often assumed and that it was negotiated through communal ritual practices.

    Megan Kassabaum is an Assistant Professor of Anthropology here at Penn and Assistant Curator in the American Section of the Museum.  She completed her Ph.D. in anthropology at the University of North Carolina in 2014 and her B.A. in anthropology and philosophy at Beloit College in 2005. Her research focuses on prehistoric American Indian communities in the Lower Mississippi Valley, where she has been conducting excavations since 2006. This focus on the Native communities living along the Mississippi River developed during her childhood in St. Louis, Missouri and she has since worked on archaeological projects in Wisconsin, Illinois, North Carolina, South Carolina, Peru, and of course, throughout Mississippi, where her current research is focused.

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