Mississippian Beginnings

Edited by Gregory D. Wilson

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"An excellent volume that demonstrates a more explicit, nuanced, and careful approach to interpreting the social lives of these past communities. An indispensable resource."--Paul D. Welch, author of Archaeology at Shiloh Indian Mounds, 1899-1999

"Provides much needed updated perspectives on the origins of the Mississippian archaeological cultural phenomenon in the Southeast."--Sissel Schroeder, University of Wisconsin-Madison


Using fresh evidence and nontraditional ideas, the contributing authors of Mississippian Beginnings reconsider the origins of the Mississippian culture of the North American Midwest and Southeast (A.D. 1000-1600). Challenging the decades-old opinion that this culture evolved similarly across isolated Woodland populations, they discuss signs of migrations, pilgrimages, violent conflicts, and other far-flung entanglements that now appear to have shaped the early Mississippian past.

Presenting recent fieldwork, archival studies, and new investigations of legacy collections, the essays in this volume interpret results through contemporary perspectives that emphasize agency and historical contingency. They track the various ways disparate cultures across a sizeable swath of the continent came to share similar architecture, pottery, subsistence strategies, sociopolitical organization, iconography, and religion. Together, they provide the most comprehensive examination of early Mississippian culture in nearly thirty years.

Gregory D. Wilson, associate professor of anthropology at the University of California, Santa Barbara, is the author of The Archaeology of Everyday Life at Early Moundville.

A volume in the Florida Museum of Natural History: Ripley P. Bullen Series

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