Theses and Dissertations

Issuing Body

Mississippi State University


Herrmann, Nicholas P.

Committee Member

Hardin, James W.

Committee Member

Rafferty, Janet E.

Date of Degree


Document Type

Graduate Thesis - Open Access


Applied Anthropology

Degree Name

Master of Arts


College of Arts and Sciences


Department of Anthropology and Middle Eastern Cultures


The purpose of this thesis is to assess the mortuary program at Morton Shell Mound (16IB3) using osteological and spatial analyses. Because of the fragmented and commingled nature of the remains, the analysis of mortuary practices includes quantitative assessment of the elements, examination of bone fracture patterns, and distributional analyses of the fragments. The collection includes 15,714 fragments with a total of 93 individuals represented. The elements exhibit primarily late-stage postmortem fractures, and are randomly distributed throughout the mound. These data indicate a complex mortuary program that that may have been used for longer than 900 years. Morton has the variability of burial styles, few grave offerings, and communal burials characteristic of Middle and Late Woodland mortuary practices. The compatibility of the methods used, and their applicability to fragmented remains, makes them advantageous tools in the quantification of commingled collections both in bioarchaeological and modern forensic investigations.



Fracture Patterns||Mortuary Practices||Minimum Number of Individuals||Morton Shell Mound