“An exciting and novel contribution, emphasizing the importance of understanding that precontact groups had rich and varied histories that they shaped as active agents.”—Amanda L. Regnier, coauthor of The Ritual Landscape of Late Precontact Eastern Oklahoma: Archaeology from the WPA Era until Today “Ethridge and Bowne have assembled a collection of thought-provoking contributions by some of the best minds in Southeastern archaeology.”—Marvin T. Smith, author of Coosa: The Rise and Fall of a Southeastern Mississippian Chiefdom This volume uses case studies to capture the recent emphasis on history in archaeological reconstructions of America’s deep past. Previously, archaeologists studying “prehistoric” America focused on long-term evolutionary change, imagining ancient societies like living organisms slowly adapting to environmental challenges. Contributors to this volume demonstrate how today’s researchers are incorporating a new awareness that the precolonial era was also shaped by people responding to historical trends and forces.
Essays in this volume delve into sites across what is now the United States Southeast—the St. Johns River Valley, the Gulf Coast, Greater Cahokia, Fort Ancient, the southern Appalachians, and the Savannah River Valley. Prominent scholars of the region highlight the complex interplay of events, human decision-making, movements, and structural elements that combined to shape native societies. The research in this volume represents a profound shift in thinking about precolonial and colonial history and begins to erase the false divide between ancient and contemporary America. Robbie Ethridge, professor of anthropology at the University of Mississippi, is the author of From Chicaza to Chickasaw: The European Invasion and the Transformation of the Mississippian World, 1540–1715. Eric E. Bowne, assistant professor of anthropology at the University of Central Arkansas, is the author of Mound Sites of the Ancient South: A Guide to the Mississippian Chiefdoms. A volume in the Florida Museum of Natural History: Ripley P. Bullen Series