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By Jeff Sherard

2009 Bulletin of the Alabama Museum of Natural History 27:29-42

Analysis of fired daub, a construction material of tempered clay commonly associated with the walls and ceilings of Mississippian buildings, has the potential to reveal otherwise unknowable architectural details. For Mound V at the Moundville site, daub rubble was classified by type of surface finish, thickness, and interior impression. Quantitative differences were found among areas of daub fall corresponding to different architectural components. The main wall of Structure 1, an earth lodge, was built up around horizontal lathing of whole cane tied to wall posts, often bundled. Impressions against flattened wooden splints were also found. This wall was hand-smoothed and painted in red and white. The daubed interior ceiling of the same structure, in contrast, was unpainted with the daub applied against a coarse fabric of split cane bound with whole cane stringers. Daub from an adjacent building, Structure 2, had a gritty clay plaster finish and was set against a combination of split cane fabric and whole cane lathing. These modes of construction differ from previously reported Mississippian architectural remains, and highlight the potential role of the spatial analysis of daub in understanding the variability in this architecture.

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