Archaeology Brown Bag

Friday, September 23, 2022
4 pm | Brooks Hall Commons

Jeffrey Hantman, Professor Emeritus, Dept. of Anthropology
Archaeology of Monacan Mounds, Ancestral Territory and Survivance in Virginia, A.D. 1000-2022.

In this talk I discuss the power of persistent places in consideration of Monacan Indian ancestral territory. I will briefly review the archaeological evidence for the distinctive Monacan ritual mound burial practice recorded in central and west-central Virginia since AD 1000. I will reconsider the idea of mounds as Indigenous monuments and stress the individual acts of burial at persistent places that resulted in large earthworks only after centuries of use. The talk then emphasizes the evidence for Monacan ‘survivance,’ a term redefined by Anishinaabe writer and critic Gerald Vizenor that refers to the active Indigenous presence in the context of settler colonialism and the rejection of narratives of dominance and historical absence. Archaeological methods and typologies, and the focus on mounds, have contributed to a long-standing narrative of Indigenous disappearance and loss. Critical and collaborative efforts to rethink archaeological and documentary data shed light on multiple strategies of survivance, and the practice of ‘(not) hiding in plain site(s)’ in the shatter zone of Monacan reorganization and resettlement in and beyond Virginia during the colonial era.