Town Creek Indian Mound

A Native American Legacy

By Joffre Lanning Coe

With contributions by Thomas D. Burke, S. Homes Hogue, Billy L. Oliver, Stanley South, Michael Trinkley, and Jack H. Wilson, Jr.; Foreword by Leland G. Ferguson

366 pp., 8.5 x 11, 234 halftones, 35 tables

  • Paperback ISBN: 978-0-8078-4490-8
    Published: December 1995
  • E-book EPUB ISBN: 978-1-4696-1049-8
    Published: December 2012
  • E-book PDF ISBN: 979-8-8908-6795-7
    Published: December 2012

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The temple mound and mortuary at Town Creek, in Montgomery County, is one of the few surviving earthen mounds built by prehistoric Native Americans in North Carolina. It has been recognized as an important archaeological site for almost sixty years and, as a state historic site, has become a popular destination for the public. This book is Joffre Coe's illustrated chronicle of the archaeological research conducted at Town Creek, a project with which Coe has been intimately involved for more than fifty years, since its inception as a WPA program in 1937.

Written for visitors as well as for scholars, Town Creek Indian Mound provides an overview of the site and the archaeological techniques pioneered there, surveys the history of the excavations, and features more than 200 photographs and maps. The book carefully reconstructs the archaeological record, including plant and animal remains, pottery sherds, stone tools, and clay ornaments. In a concluding interpretive section, Coe reflects on what Town Creek and its artifacts tell us about this prehistoric Native American society.

Originally published in 1995.

A UNC Press Enduring Edition -- UNC Press Enduring Editions use the latest in digital technology to make available again books from our distinguished backlist that were previously out of print. These editions are published unaltered from the original, and are presented in affordable paperback formats, bringing readers both historical and cultural value.

About the Author

Joffre Lanning Coe, professor emeritus of anthropology and former director of the Research Laboratories of Anthropology at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, directed the excavations at Town Creek from 1937 until his retirement in 1987. He is author of The Formative Cultures of the Carolina Piedmont.
For more information about Joffre Lanning Coe, visit the Author Page.


"This beautiful and historically significant volume reveals the inside story of a fascinating archaeological site that attracts tens of thousands of visitors every year."--North Carolina Libraries

"Coe's well-written work explores prehistoric settlement at Town Creek, a well-known North Carolina archaeological site. Coe, a distinguished North American archaeologist, presents a highly personal and engrossing account of his 50-year professional association with the site."--Choice

"Joffre Coe's Town Creek Indian Mound monograph joins a very select group of 'must-have' volumes for all Eastern archaeologists. It represents a very significant monument both to the prehistoric Indian builders of the site and to the master excavator who brought it to light."--Stephen Williams, Harvard University

"Joffre Lanning Coe has devoted nearly six decades of his distinguished career to saving Town Creek Indian Mound and unfolding its fascinating story. This book is not only the culmination of an astonishing life's work, but also a vital piece of our past of the first importance. Town Creek Indian Mound State Historic Site attracts tens of thousands of visitors annually, and this book helps us understand why."--William S. Price Jr., North Carolina Division of Archives and History