Mounds and wattle and daub house from Grand Village of the Natchez
The Plaquemine Culture occupied the rest of Louisiana not taken by the Caddoan Mississippian culture during this time frame and are considered descendants of the Troyville-Coles Creek culture. A prominent feature of Plaquemine sites are large ceremonial centers with two or more large mounds facing an open plaza. The flat-topped, pyramidal mounds were constructed in several stages. Sometimes they were topped by one or two smaller mounds. Mounds were often built on top of the ruins of a house or temple and similar buildings were usually constructed on top of the mound. In earlier times, buildings were usually circular, but later they were likely to be rectangular. They were constructed of wattle and daub, and sometimes with wall posts sunk into foot-deep wall trenches. At times, shallow, oval or rectangular graves were dug in the mounds. These might have been for primary burials, but more often they were for the reburial of remains originally interred elsewhere.
One kind of pottery occasionally placed in the graves is called "killed" pottery. This type has a hole in the base of the vessel that was cut while the pot was being made, usually before it was fired. They also decorated their pots in other characteristic ways. They sometimes added small solid handles called lugs and textured the surface by brushing clumps of grass over the vessel before it was fired. They often cut designs into the surface of the wet clay, and like their Caddoan contemporaries, the Plaquemine peoples engraved designs on pots after they were fired. Plaquemine peoples also had undecorated pots that they used for ordinary daily tasks. Pottery during this phase still used dry clay particles a tempering material, with the use of ground shell being a marker for Mississippian cultural contact.
Early Mississippian influence on the Yazoo Basin area
Beginning during the Terminal Coles Creek period (1150 to 1250 CE), Mississippian cultures far upstream from the Plaquemine area began expanding their reach southward. Excavations in the Yazoo Basin area of Mississippi have shown a Cahokia Horizon as extraregional exotic goods such as Cahokian pottery and other artifacts began to be deposited in Coles Creek-Plaquemine culture sites. Through repeated contacts groups in Mississippi and then Louisiana began adopting Mississippian techniques for making Mississippian culture pottery, as well as ceremonial objects and possibly social structuring. The Plaquemine peoples became more and more Mississippianized and the area the culture covered begins to shrink after 1350 CE. Eventually the last enclave of purely Plaquemine culture was the Natchez Bluffs area, while the Yazoo Basin and Louisiana areas became a hybrid Plaquemine Mississippian culture. Historic groups in the area during first European contact bear out this division. Historic groups in the Natchez Bluffs, the Taensa and Natchez had held out against full Mississippianization and continued to use the same sites as their ancestors and carry on in the Plaquemine culture. Those that may have descended from the Mississippianized groups are those who at the time of Europoean contact spoke the Tunican, Chitimachan, and Muskogean languages.
A Plaquemine/Mississippian site approx. 8 miles from the Mississippi town of Natchez. The second largest pre-Columbian structure in the USA and is the type site for the Emerald Phase (1350 to 1500 CE) of the Natchez Bluffs region.
A Plaquemine/Mississippian site in Madison Parish, Louisiana which dates from approximately 1200–1541. It is the type site for the protohistoric Fitzhugh Phase (1300-1400 CE) of the Tensas Basin Plaquemine Mississippian chronology.
A site with two mounds in Humphreys County, Mississippi. While the mounds have not been excavated, pottery sherds found in the area lead scholars to date the sites construction and use to roughly 1100 CE to 1500 CE. Artifacts found in the area demonstrate the site was occupied from 1750 BCE to 1500 CE, making it one of the oldest continuously inhabited sites in the region. There were smaller mounds nearby that were hundreds of years older than the surviving two, built by peoples of a preceding culture, but they were destroyed by plowing and road construction in the early 20th century.
A large multimound site with 2 plazas and components from the Coles Creek (700–1200) and Plaquemine/Mississippian periods (1200–1541). It located in East Carroll Parish, Louisiana It is the type site for the protohistoric Translyvania Phase (1400-1650 CE) of the Tensas Basin Plaquemine Mississippian chronology.
^Douglas C. Wells; Richard A. Weinstein (2007). "Extra regional contact and culktural interaction at the Coles Creek - Plaquemine transition : Recent data from the Lake Providence Mounds, East Carroll Parish, Louisiana". In Rees, Mark A.; Livingood, Patrick C. Plaquemine Archaeology. University of Alabama Press. pp. 38–55.
^Hally, David J. (1972). "Chapter 3 : Routh Phase". The Plaquemine and Mississippian Occupations of the Upper Tensas Basin, Louisiana (Doctor of Philosophy thesis). Cambridge, Massachusetts: Department of Anthropology, Harvard University. Retrieved 2011-10-28.