“In chapters ranging from the Georgia coast to the Caddo area, readers will engage with detailed analyses of motifs and designs, move back and forth between archaeological artifacts and Native American narratives, and gain new perspectives about the use and meanings of objects.”—Mary Beth Trubitt, University of Arkansas
“This volume takes Mississippian imagery studies to the next step, going beyond the important concerns of defining methodology and identifying styles and referents to ask topical questions and explore alternative theoretical frames.”—Adam King, editor of Archaeology in South Carolina: Exploring the Hidden Heritage of the Palmetto State
In this volume, contributors show how stylistic and iconographic analyses of Mississippian imagery provide new perspectives on the beliefs, narratives, public ceremonies, ritual regimes, and expressions of power in the communities that created the artwork. Exploring various methodological and theoretical approaches to pre-Columbian visual culture, these essays reconstruct dynamic accounts of Native American history across the U.S. Southeast.
These case studies offer innovative examples of how to use style to identify and compare artifacts, how symbols can be interpreted in the absence of writing, and how to situate and historicize Mississippian imagery. They examine designs carved into shell, copper, stone, and wood or incised into ceramic vessels, from spider iconography to owl effigies and depictions of the cosmos. They discuss how these symbols intersect with memory, myths, social hierarchies, religious traditions, and other spheres of Native American life in the past and present. The tools modeled in this volume will open new horizons for learning about the culture and worldviews of past peoples.
Bretton T. Giles is assistant research professor in sociology, anthropology, and social work at Kansas State University. Shawn P. Lambert is assistant professor of anthropology and senior research associate with the Cobb Institute of Archaeology at Mississippi State University. A volume in the Florida Museum of Natural History: Ripley P. Bullen Series
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