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Lecture 13

Lecture 13 Part 1– Mississippian Society after 1050 AD

Course Code
ANTH 2231F/G
Christopher Ellis

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Lecture 13 Part 1 Mississippian Society after 1050 AD
Nodes: smaller communities that were across the landscape, not the major center of
society, farmsteads, under the control of a major center (e.g. Cahokia)
Ceremonial Nodes
Administered to the local ceremonial needs
Small wall-trench structures
Evidence for ceremonial use:
o Many burials
o Evidence of a priest prepared the dead for burial
Screen with a sacred fire
Dominated by ceremonial artifacts: beautiful figurines, pottery, etc.
Civic Nodes
Residence where local administrator lived
No ceremonial goods, not the purpose of these nodes
Day-to-day events
Large storage structures
Some of what the people grow ends up in storage in case of shortage, also
some goes to the central administration
Pre- 1050 AD
Only small villages across the landscape, hamlets and small towns
After 1050
Decentralization, dispersed the people into farmsteads
Wall built around Cahokia, tore down many houses to do so
Totally reorganized society
Lasted for about 100-200 years, then signs of decline
Collapses and was abandoned
Mississippian societies (complex chiefdoms) have a shelf-life of about
100-200 years
o Because leadership was inherited, some people are not good leaders
o On bad terms with many of their neighbours and some parts of their
own society
o Hard to control people that are more than 40 kilometers away, took a
few days to get there
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