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Late Woodland/Mississippian

Late Woodland/Mississippian

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Late Woodland/Mississippian

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  1. Late Woodland/Mississippian Sedentary Period Mississippian

  2. Middle Sedentary Period • Poverty Point culture eclipses around between 500-300 B.C. and is replaced by cultures lacking indicators of centralized ranked societies. • Middle Sedentary Period: • Dates: 300 B.C.-A.D. 300 • Following the decentralization of Poverty Point, there appears a re-growth of social complexity during this period. • Cultural orientation points toward northern cultural affiliations with Hopewell peoples. • Two prominent examples of these trends can be found in the Marksville site and in the Santa Rosa/ Swift Creek "complex."

  3. Marksville Site • Located in Louisiana • Suggested as a significant Hopewell cultural inroad into the Southeast • Maybe the result of a migration of Illinois Hopewell into Louisiana! (?) • The Marksville Site exhibits marked similarities with those of their "Yankee neighbors" to the north. • Marksville Site description (after W. N. Morgan 1980:37-38): • 16 hectares enclosed within a semicircular moat and embankment enclosure (1,000 meters long) • Eastern side of site is a bluff of the "Old River” • Three openings exist to the south and west • A central plaza is bounded by: • Two conical-mound-topped truncated platforms (north and south) and • Sunken plaza (to the east) • Conical mound (to the west) that contained a log-tomb burial) • To the south, by two entrances and just outside the "defenses," was a large circular enclosure (measuring 91 meters in diameter by 61 centimeters high).

  4. Marksville Mound

  5. Santa Rosa/Swift Creek • Located in Florida • At this site it appears that we might be dealing with something more analogous to egalitarian- redistributive economy chiefdoms. • "Big-Men" model chiefdoms • "Big Men" derived from Melanesian ethnographic work • "Big Men" receive goods and services through their achievement (rather than having their power ascribed through birth) • Santa Rosa/Swift Creek Complex may have led into the succeeding Late Sedentary culture typified by Weeden Island

  6. Swift Creek Pottery

  7. The Miami Circle • The Miami Circle is situated on a 2.2 acre parcel that is located along the southern bank of the Miami River where the river meets Biscayne Bay. • The Miami Circle consists of a series of 24 large holes or basins, and many smaller holes, which have been cut into the oolitic limestone bedrock. • Together these holes form a circle approximately 38 feet in diameter. Other arrangements of holes are apparent as well.

  8. The Miami Circle

  9. Web site on Miami Circle •

  10. Late Sedentary Period • Dates: A.D. 300-700 • Following the Marksville Phase. • Weeden Island Complex: • During this time in the Hopewell Heartland in the north (i.e. in the Ohio River Valley) things were in decline. • Weeden Island sites, such as Kolomoki in south Georgia, show that post-Hopewellian decline was not a factor here! • Weeden Island is more impressive than the previous Marksville Phase, and may have emerged out of the earlier Santa Rosa/Swift Creek cultures • Kolomoki site will provide an example of Weeden Island cultures.

  11. Kolomoki Site • Site location: • On a small tributary of the Chattahoochee River • Area of diverse local environment • Site area: • 1.2 million square meters (1.2 km2) • Site characteristics: • Numerous small mounds, some with burials • Large rectangular mound with a flat summit • 17 meters high by 61 meters by 99 meters • No ramp (as in later Mississippian temple mounds), but the excavator Sears suggests log or clay steps once led to the summit • Mounds were finished (i.e., capped) with colored clays: • Red clay from the site • Yellow clay from the creek • Thin layers of white sand • Final cap was 2 meters thick • Thus: We are dealing with truncated platforms, with or without stairways

  12. Kolomoki Society • Burials: • Elaborate ceramics accompanied burials • "Retainers" may be indicated as part of elite burials • Thus: Burials, equipped with grave goods placed in large mounds, implies at least a ranked society (if not formally stratified society) • Population: • Using village area, some have suggested maybe 1,000 persons • Population size, plus mound size, plus organizational layout, plus elaborate burials (with grave goods and retainers) implies probably a chiefdom-level of social complexity. • Subsistence: • No suggestion of heavy dependence on squash or maize cultigens • Thus, we may still be dealing with a case of "Primary Forest Efficiency"—or intensive foragers.

  13. Kolomoki site: Artifacts

  14. Web site on Kolomoki Mounds •

  15. Concluding observations on the Sedentary Period • Cultigens appear present there was no evidence of primary dependence upon them • Period when several chiefdoms emerged: • Poverty Point (Early Sedentary) • Marksville (Middle Sedentary) • Kolomoki (Weeden Island Culture—Late Sedentary) • Architectural emergence of flat-topped mounds that may imply an autochthonous origin for later Mississippian mounds.

  16. Mississippian • The archaeologist Jon Muller (1978) prefers to use the term "Late Prehistoric" to cover this period of cultural development because it is less of a geography-laden term and reflects a variety of locations of sites. • Still, we are basically going to be discussing those cultures that appeared to have been autochthonous developments out of earlier local Late Sedentary societies—in other words, Mississippian Cultures.

  17. Major changes • Major changes characterizing the Late Prehistoric cultures of the Southeast include: • An increasing dependence upon agriculture for livelihood • The development of highly organized and ranked societies (something that apparently was largely contemporaneous throughout the Southeast) • Increasing emphasis upon warfare with Late Prehistoric sites often well fortified • Increasing population growth • Increase in the widespread exchange of goods • Characteristic artifacts and iconography • Widespread occurrence of the "Southern Cult" or the "Southeastern Ceremonial Complex” • Truncated earthen temple-mound construction surmounted by temple/elite residential structures

  18. Major Mississippian Sites

  19. Mississippian (or Late Prehistoric) cultural complexes • Oneota Complex: • Upper Mississippi drainage • Major sites: Bryan Site (by Red Wing, Minnesota) • Fort Ancient Complex: • Southwest Ohio, Southeast Indiana, Northern Kentucky • Caddoan Complex: • Arkansas River Drainage • Westernmost "Mississippian" culture • Most famous site was Spiro in Oklahoma

  20. Complexes Continued • Central Mississippi Complex: • Mississippi River and Illinois River drainages • The Mississippi Bottoms • Most significant site Cahokia • Other sites: Pulcher Site,Mitchell Site • Kinkaid Complex: • Ohio River mouth west to where the Ohio enters the Mississippi • Southern Indiana and Illinois • Major sites: Kinkaid, Angel • Dalles Complex: • Tennessee and Cumberland River drainages: • Major sites: Etowah, Hiwassee

  21. Complexes Continued • Moundville Complex: • Alabama and Mississippi area • Major site: Moundville • Plaquemine Complex: • Lower Mississippi River • Major sites: Coles Creek,Lake George • South Appalachian Complex: • South Georgia and Northeast Florida • Seat of the Sedentary Period Santa Rosa/Swift Creek and subsequent Weeden Island cultures • Fort Walton Complex: • Northwest Florida • Major site: Fort Walton

  22. Late Prehistoric Subsistence • Subsistence was based on agricultural crops: • Maize, Beans (Phaseolus vulgaris),Squash, Sunflower, Marsh elder, Gourds • Secondary wild food sources: Chenopods & Nuts: Hickory, Walnut, Acorn • Fruits • Fish • Waterfowl • Mammals: Deer, Raccoon, Turkey

  23. Late Prehistoric Settlement • Found mostly riverine • Settlement location most probably reflected considerations for: • Local subsistence resources • Alluvial soils • Transportation and communication • Upland settlement exists, but most probably reflects seasonal hunting activities. • Varieties of settlement types suggested to reflect • Specialized activities • Responses for functioning for the broader society. • Residential, Procurement , Administrative

  24. Sites arranged hierarchically • Types of sites: • Large centralized sites • High-ranked administrators, Bureaucrats and priest, Collection and redistribution of food and materials, Supervision of ceremonial and ritual celebrations of the social system • Small centers • Low-rank administrators, Farmsteads, Basic unit most likely a small family group of some type • Settlement organization: • Sites of more than one mound appear organized as follows: • Central plaza, Large central mound (presumably elevated toward the sun [i.e., the solar deity]), Council house on the opposite side, Smaller mounds graded away from these, Village area surrounded central precinct, Cornfields surrounded village.

  25. Mississippian Cities: Toqua

  26. Moundville, AL

  27. Etowah Mounds, GA

  28. Etowah mounds

  29. Etowah Reconstruction

  30. Etowah web site •

  31. Cahokia • Site location: • 16 km east-northeast of Saint Louis (in East Saint Louis), On Cahokia Creek • Cahokia was the largest prehistoric city north of Mexico • At its peak it may have had some 20,000-30,000 inhabitants • Appears to have been the center of at least 50 communities in the American Bottom region

  32. Occupation • This site was first inhabited by Indians of the Late Woodland culture about AD 700. • The site grew during the following Mississippian period, after AD 900, and by AD 1050-1150, the Cahokia site was the regional center for the Mississippian culture with many satellite communities, villages and farmsteads around it. • After AD 1200, the population began to decline and the site was abandoned by AD 1400.

  33. Cahokia Reconstruction

  34. Additional Reconstruction

  35. City Center • Site center is basically diamond shaped with an interior palisaded core • 4.58 km east-west by 3.67 km north-south and 13.4 km2 • 120 mounds • City center: • Monk's Mound plus 16 other mounds • Basically shaped like a squat boat heading south • Surrounded by a palisade on three sides (Cahokia Creek defining the fourth side) • Majority of mounds lie outside the palisaded inner core • One small mound yielded the burial of a high-ranking individual buried with: Caches of arrow heads, Polished stone, Mica, Six sacrificed male retainers, A separate mass grave containing 53 women

  36. Palisade • Excavations begun in 1966 uncovered a two-mile-long stockade surrounding the central portion of Cahokia. • The wall was started around A.D. 1100 and then rebuilt three times over a period of 200 years. • Each construction required 15,000-20,000 oak and hickory logs, one foot in diameter and twenty feet tall. • The logs were sunk into a trench four to five feet deep and were supported with horizontal poles or interwoven with saplings.

  37. Reconstructed Palisade

  38. “Woodhenge” • Evidence that there were as many as five Woodhenges. • These were built over a period of 200 years (A.D. 900-1100). • Fragments of wood were identified as red cedar and used for the posts.

  39. "Woodhenge“ Functions • Possible functions of "Woodhenge“: • Observatory (?): May have functioned like Stonehenge as a sort of "observatory" • For astral and horizon alignment observations. • three posts are crucial as seasonal markers -- those marking the first days of winter and summer (the solstices), and one halfway between marking the first days of spring and fall (the equinoxes). • Sun Dance "Temple" (?)

  40. Woodhenge Reconstruction

  41. Burial & Status: Cahokia Mound 72 The wood dates to approximately 1000 A.D.   272 burials were discovered in mound 72. Burials without litters

  42. Mound 72 Burials with litters

  43. Mound 72 Female Burial Pit (53 between 15 and 30)

  44. Mound 72 Headless Burials

  45. Reconstruction of “Chief” from Mound 72

  46. Monk’s Mound • Largest monument at Cahokia is the famous Monk's Mound • Monk's Mound: • About 100 feet high • Covers sixteen acres (3 acres more than the great pyramid at Giza!) (6.4 hectares) • 316 by 241 meters(76156 square meters) rising over 30 meters high • Contains over 600,000 cubic meters of earth • Constructed in stages • This constitutes one of the largest examples of prehistoric construction in the entire Western Hemisphere

  47. Monk’s Mound

  48. Another View

  49. Late Prehistoric house form • Wall construction: • Vertical poles set in trenches covered over with • Mud plaster (i.e., wattle-and-daub construction) • Plaster-covered mats • Roof was thatched • Floor plan generally square • Hearth in the center of the floor • General structural template applied for: • Farmers' houses, Mortuary temples for the bodies of the local aristocracy, Palaces of the living chieftains