For thousands of years, the inhabitants of the Middle Cumberland River Valley harvested shellfish for food and raw materials then deposited the remains in dense concentrations along the river. Very little research has been published on the Archaic period shell mounds in this region. Demonstrating that nearly forty such sites exist, this volume presents the results of recent surveys, excavations, and laboratory work as well as fresh examinations of past investigations that have been difficult for scholars to access. In these essays, contributors describe an emergency riverbank survey of shell-bearing sites that were discovered, reopened, or damaged in the aftermath of recent flooding. Their studies of these sites feature stratigraphic analysis, radiocarbon dating, zooarchaeological data, and other interpretive methods. Other essays in the volume provide the first widely accessible summary of previous work on sites that have long been known. Contributors also address larger topics such as GIS analysis of settlement patterns, research biases, and current debates about the purpose of shell mounds. This volume provides an enormous amount of valuable data from the abundant material record of a fascinating people, place, and time. It is a landmark synthesis that will improve our understanding of the individual communities and broader cultures that created shell mounds across the southeastern United States. A volume in the Florida Museum of Natural History: Ripley P. Bullen Series.