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Pocahontas in Hinds County, Mississippi — The American South (East South Central)
 

Midden: Sifting Through the Trash

 
 
Midden: Sifting Through the Trash Marker image. Click for full size.
By Mark Hilton, August 3, 2018
1. Midden: Sifting Through the Trash Marker
Inscription.  
Midden Mounds
A midden mound is another type of "mound" frequently found where American Indians once lived. Unlike ceremonial mounds, midden mounds were not purposely constructed for a specific use, but rather were created by the accumulation of trash. In other words, a midden mound is a trash dump.

The materials found in middens are often representative of daily domestic activities, such as broken tools associated with food preparation or the bones of animals that had been previously eaten. In the photograph below you can see some of the artifacts that have been excavated from midden areas at Pocahontas.

A number of midden areas have been identified during excavations at the Pocahontas site. The most prominent area includes the mounded area to your left. Other areas that have been identified as midden were destroyed by the construction of the northbound lanes of Highway 49.

A Midden's Worth
For archaeologists, midden areas are very important parts of archaeological sites. Not only do they contain artifacts that can tell us
View of marker looking towards Mound A. image. Click for full size.
By Mark Hilton, August 3, 2018
2. View of marker looking towards Mound A.
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about the daily activities of the site's inhabitants, but they also do an excellent job of preserving evidence for the types of food that people ate. The remains of charred plants, animal bone, and mussel shell are often well preserved in midden areas due to the low acidity of the midden soils. The decomposition of large amounts of organic materials introduces high levels of phosphates into the midden soils. High phosphate levels act to reduce soil acidity, which allows for greater preservation of fragile organic materials.

Sheet Midden
Another type of midden found at American Indian sites is referred to as a "sheet" midden. Like a midden mound, a sheet midden is also composed of dark, organically enriched soil that results from the deposition and decomposition of large amounts of organic materials, such as animal bones or plant remains.

A sheet midden, however, is not mounded. It is a single layer of soil that sometimes covers a very large area, and is often located where an American Indian village once stood. Sheet middens were formed by the trash that incidentally accumulated in and around the village houses.

A midden mound is created by the concentrated accumulation of trash in a relatively small area, and a sheet midden is created by the wide distribution of trash over a larger
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area.
 
Erected by Mississippi Department of Transportation, Cobb Institute of Archaeology-Mississippi State University.
 
Topics. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Anthropology & ArchaeologyNative AmericansSettlements & Settlers.
 
Location. 32° 28.186′ N, 90° 17.333′ W. Marker is in Pocahontas, Mississippi, in Hinds County. Marker can be reached from U.S. 49 0.8 miles south of Kennebrew Road, in the median. Located at Pocahontas Mounds Roadside Park. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Jackson MS 39209, United States of America. Touch for directions.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 6 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. The Evolution of the Pocahontas Site (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); Environmental Archaeology (about 300 feet away); Landscape Modification in Prehistoric Times (about 300 feet away); Pocahontas Mounds (about 400 feet away); Ceremonial Mounds Of The Southeast (about 400 feet away); a different marker also named Pocahontas Mounds (about 800 feet away); Stone Fence Posts Mid-Western Kansas 1880’s (approx. 3.7 miles away); Osburn Stand (approx. 5.9 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Pocahontas.
 
Also see . . .  Cobb Institute researchers investigations at the Pocahontas Mound A. (Submitted on August 10, 2018, by Mark Hilton of Montgomery, Alabama.)
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Credits. This page was last revised on December 16, 2020. It was originally submitted on August 10, 2018, by Mark Hilton of Montgomery, Alabama. This page has been viewed 67 times since then and 3 times this year. Photos:   1, 2. submitted on August 10, 2018, by Mark Hilton of Montgomery, Alabama.

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Apr. 21, 2021