Time and Place
The Tchefuncte site is in St. Tammany Parish, on the north shore of Lake Pontchartrain, within Fontainebleau State Park. The site has two midden deposits on the bank of a small bayou in the coastal marsh. Middens are the result of trash building up in an area where people lived and worked.
Midden A lies at the eastern end of the site. It extends for over 270 feet along the bayou. Most of the midden is composed of soils that have been darkened by the charcoal, animal bones and other waste that people discarded here long ago. Along the bayou bank, the midden contains abundant shell, left over from clams that were an important part of the local diet. Midden B lies about 100 feet west of Midden A. It is smaller, about 160 feet long, and is almost entirely made of shell.
American Indians lived at the site from 600 B.C. to 200 B.C., during the Early Woodland period. The site gives an important view of life at this time. In fact, throughout Louisiana, the people of this period are called the Tchefuncte culture.
What was happening in the rest of the world during this time? People from South America began migrating to islands in the Caribbean Sea. They brought with them new kinds of crops and pottery. In Ireland, people began making tools and weapons out of a new material called iron. In 323 B.C., Alexander the Great died, leading to a long period of war between his successors. South of Egypt, the Nubian civilization was flourishing.
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