Table of Contents
Journal of Anthropology
Volume 2012, Article ID 192923, 21 pages
Research Article

Moving Earth and Building Monuments at the Carson Mounds Site, Coahoma County, Mississippi

1Department of Anthropology, Tulane University, 101 Dinwiddie Hall, 6823 Street, Charles Avenue, New Orleans, LA 70118, USA
2School of Geography, Planning, and Environmental Management, University of Queensland, St. Lucia, QLD 4072, Australia
3Coastal Environments Incorporated, 812 Water Street, Biloxi, MS 39530, USA
4Natural Resources Conservation Service, Metcalfe MLRA Soil Survey Office, 422 Feather Farms Road, Metcalfe, MS 38760, USA
5Mississippi Department of Archives and History, Clarksdale Office, P.O. Box 36, Clarksdale, MS 38614, USA

Received 6 June 2012; Accepted 19 September 2012

Academic Editor: Nicola Masini

Copyright © 2012 Jayur Madhusudan Mehta et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


The application of combined techniques such as aerial imagery, sediment coring, down-hole magnetic susceptibility, and mechanized trench excavation can provide critical information on landscape formation and mound stratigraphy, specifically if they can be used to understand mound sequences and development. This paper reviews preliminary findings from recent coring and test excavations at the Carson mounds site (22CO505) in Coahoma County, Mississippi. Aerial imagery assisted in the characterization of a crevasse ridge flood deposit underlying the site and detailed field descriptions of the pedology corroborated its existence. Subsequent sediment coring and trench excavation revealed the nature of flooding in prehistory, indicating that high-intensity floods were responsible for the formation of the crevasse ridge and that lower intensity floods were potentially responsible for interruptions in mound building at the site. This suggests that the Carson settlement was initiated on an actively flooding landform. Down-hole magnetic susceptibility correlated effectively with the pedology; however, it also helped discern anthropogenic surfaces (i.e., occupational layers) that are difficult to identify visually, such as those we found in Mound C. Findings from this pilot study demonstrate the utility of sediment coring and magnetic susceptibility as effective and feasible methods for developing hypothesis-driven research.