The Mann Site
What is the Mann Site?
The Mann Site (12Po2) is a prehistoric archeological site located in Posey County, Indiana on a high terrace near the Ohio River. Although the site was occupied as early as the Paleo-Indian period, the primary period of occupation falls in the Middle Woodland while also containing a notable amount of finds from the Mississippian period. The local environment is crucial to its meaning, providing access to northern and southern plant types as well as major waterways that could have allowed transportation to the Great Lakes. These factors, in conjunction with the diverse array of artifacts found on the surface and interned at burial sites, have led some to believe that the Mann Site was a point of intersection between various other Indigenous communities, including Hopewell.
The Archaeology of the Mann Site
The site was first acknowledged with an archaeological interest by Glenn Black in the 1930s although it would not be truly investigated until 1946 when an initial field survey was conducted. A sporadic and limited period of excavation followed between 1964 and 1977, supplemented by the use of aerial photos that have been employed in a spatial analysis of the 16 identified earthworks. These earthworks are among the most significant features belonging to the Mann Site, accompanied by house trenches, pits, and burials (both inhumations and cremations). The artifacts that accompany these features, located through surface reconnaissance in addition to excavation, include pottery, anthropomorphic figurines, charred squash, flint tools and weapons, small discs, and bone artifacts among others. The diversity of the pottery, visible in varied shapes, functions, craft techniques, and designs, further supports the theory that this site was a crossroads of sorts. A selection of these designs supports a particular association with the Hopewell culture and even a possible development from the Crab Orchard tradition. This diversity has also proved to be a point of confusion in attempts to date the site, particularly when considering the Mississippian artifacts that are found unexpectedly in conjunction with spaces and finds identified as Middle Woodland (Kellar 1979).
The Mann Site at the GBL
The Glenn Black Lab houses roughly 13,821 specimens from the Mann Site, much of which is ceramic material but is also inclusive of microblades, bone pendants, and other fragments gathered by IU field school students and professional archaeologists.