SJ Mound (22-HA-594)

National Register ID: 88000304

Area Of Significance: Prehistoric

Period Of Significance: 1000-500 AD, 499-0 AD

Date Listed: 4/13/1988

Location: Pearlington, MS (address restricted)

Statement of Significance

The SJ Mound is a small, conical burial mound dating to the Middle-Late Woodland Period (350-1000 A.D.) located in Hancock County, Mississippi, on the last high ground overlooking the marshland at the mouth of the Pearl River on the Gulf of Mexico. The site is eligible for inclusion in the National Register of Historic Places under Criterion D as it is likely to provide valuable information in the area of prehistoric archaeology. The mound appears to be in a good state of preservation having suffered little from erosion, probably due to the trees and heavy vegetation covering it. Two small pot holes appear to have done only minor damage, having destroyed less than 1% of the total mound. This is quite good in comparison to burial mounds elsewhere in the State of Mississippi which have been virtually destroyed by the activities of relic collectors. Scientific excavation would likely recover data pertinent in attempting to understand certain aspects of the Woodland culture. Information relative to the construction techniques of burial mounds is likely to be recovered along with a determination as to whether the mound was constructed in a single stage or in multiple stages. Excavation should be geared so as to recover as much information as possible regarding burials and burial techniques. Grave furniture is likely to be recovered and could be compared to materials from non-mound Woodland contexts in order to determine if any significant similarities or differences exist. Skeletal material may be discovered and could be researched from a paleo-pathological point of view perhaps providing information on Woodland populations and their skeletal physical characteristics. Further, data gathered at the SJ Mound, a Middle-Late Woodland conical burial mound in a coastal situation, should be compared with materials from similar sites located in inland Mississippi in order to gather ideas about a potentially existing coastal tradition.

Present and Historical Appearance

The SJ Mound, is a small conical burial mound, approximately 3-4' in height and 75' x 40' in diameter dating probably to the Middle-Late Woodland Period (350-1000 AD). [---redacted-by-USDOI---] The site is surrounded by marshland on three sides and is located in a pine forest approximately 1/2 mile or so from a residential subdivision. The land has never been cultivated but timber has been harvested here in the past. The mound appears to be constructed of sandy loams and is in a relatively good state of preservation. Two pot holes approximately 2 feet across by 2 feet deep have been dug on the westerly flanks and near the summit. Several small pieces of bone (probably burned) and several flakes of local chert were recovered in the relic collectors backfill. No diagnostic cultural materials were collected, making the chronological placement of the SJ Mound uncertain. However, small conical burial mounds elsewhere in the State of Mississippi [---redacted-by-USDOI---] tend to date in the Middle-Late Woodland time range. Conical burial mounds are not all that common on the Mississippi Gulf Coast today; presumably many were destroyed by hurricanes, development, and relic collecting.

The area around the mound is covered in a thick carpet of pine needles and other types of vegetation making surface survey virtually impossible. No cultural materials were located adjacent to the mound, despite raking back of organic matter. This is not surprising as the village sites associated with conical burial mounds during the Middla-Late Woodland are usually located elsewhere [---redacted-by-USDOI---]. Tne area is difficult to get to as there are no roads or paths to utilize. Indeed, the vegetation makes moving around extremely difficult. And the difficulty is compounded by the presence of deer flies and snakes. This is probably the reason the mound appears to be in such good shape despite the fact it is less than one mile from a residential area.

Additional Notes

BOUNDARY JUSTIFICATION: The boundary is restricted to the aboriginally constructed conical mound at the point the mound rises abruptly out of the local topography.

(Details and text copied from National Register nomination form)

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