Theses and Dissertations

Issuing Body

Mississippi State University


Peacock, Evan

Committee Member

Rafferty, Janet

Committee Member

Hogue, Homes S.

Date of Degree


Document Type

Graduate Thesis - Open Access


Applied Anthroplogy

Degree Name

Master of Arts (M.A.)


College of Arts and Sciences


Department of Sociology, Anthropology and Social Work


Mortuary analysis has been used in the past to understand social status and social organization. The need for a scientific way to undertake mortuary analysis in achaeology is necessary because too often social status is assumed. This thesis attempts to demonstrate that there is a scientific approach that can be taken in mortuary analysis through the investigation of energy expenditure, a dimension that can measure the attributes of status. The mortuary analysis in this study is carried out using a scientific approach involving the amount of energy expended on burials by looking at burial type, grave goods, and special placement of the burials. Through the use of archival data, this thesis investigates differences seen in the burial population of Lyon’s Bluff (22OK520) in Oktibbeha County, Mississippi through mortuary analysis that looks at burial type, grave goods, and special placement of the burials. Local farmsteads are used as a comparative basis. Through the creation of a paradigm with dimensions of burial treatments and modes of grave goods, it is possible to place all burials at a particular site or group of sites in categories that show the amount of energy expended on burials. From this, comparisons can be made with age and sex, stature, cranial deformation, and spatial location that can aid in the interpretation of mortuary data at a site. The results of this research suggest that at Lyon’s Bluff and the farmsteads used in this study there is an increase in the energy expended on burials through time. This type of research is applicable to both past and future mortuary analysis when there is well-documented information on burial type and burial inclusions.