Consisting of 18 earthen mounds and numerous additional habitation areas dating to A.D. 1250-1550, the Bottle Creek site was first professionally investigated in 1932 when David L. DeJarnette of the Alabama Museum of Natural History began work there to determine if the site had a cultural relationship with Moundville, connected to the north by a river system. Although partially mapped in the 1880s, Bottle Creek's location in the vast Mobile-Tensaw Delta of Baldwin County completely surrounded by swamp made it inaccessible and protected it from most of the plunder experienced by similar sites in the Southeast. This volume builds on earlier investigations to present extensive recent data from major excavations conducted from 1991 to 1994 and supported in part by an NEH grant. Ten anthropologists examine various aspects of the site, including mound architecture, prehistoric diet, pottery classification, vessel forms, textiles used to make pottery impressions, a microlithic stone tool industry, water travel, the persistence of mound use into historic times, and the position of Bottle Creek in the protohistoric world. The site is concluded to be the best remaining example of Pensacola culture, an archaeological variant of the widespread Mississippian tradition identified by a shell-tempered pottery complex and by its geographic association with the north-central coast of the Gulf of Mexico. Occupied for three centuries by a thriving native culture, Bottle Creek is an important remnant of North American peoples and as such is designated a National Historic Landmark. This published compilation of the research data should establish a base for future scholarly investigation and interpretation.
Ian W. Brown is Professor of Anthropology at The University of Alabama and Curator of Gulf Coast Archaeology at the Alabama Museum of Natural History. He has numerous publications, including Decorated Pottery of the Lower Mississippi Valley; A Sorting Manual. David S. Brose is Director of the Schiele Museum of Natural History in North Carolina and coeditor of The Northwest Florida Expeditions of Clarence Bloomfield Moore and Societies in Eclipse.