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Mound Sites of the Ancient South

A Guide to the Mississippian Chiefdoms

Eric E. Bowne

Publication Year: 2013

From approximately AD 900 to 1600, ancient Mississippian culture dominated today’s southeastern United States. These Native American societies, known more popularly as moundbuilders, had populations that numbered in the thousands, produced vast surpluses of food, engaged in longdistance trading, and were ruled by powerful leaders who raised large armies. Mississippian chiefdoms built fortified towns with massive earthen structures used as astrological monuments and burial grounds. The remnants of these cities—scattered throughout the Southeast from Florida north to Wisconsin and as far west as Texas—are still visible and awe-inspiring today.

This heavily illustrated guide brings these settlements to life with maps, artists’ reconstructions, photos of artifacts, and historic and modern photos of sites, connecting our archaeological knowledge with what is visible when visiting the sites today. Anthropologist Eric E. Bowne discusses specific structures at each location and highlights noteworthy museums, artifacts, and cultural features. He also provides an introduction to Mississippian culture, offering background on subsistence and settlement practices, political and social organization, warfare, and belief systems that will help readers better understand these complex and remarkable places. Sites include Cahokia, Moundville, Etowah, and many more.

A Friends Fund Publication

Published by: University of Georgia Press


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pp. 1-5


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pp. 6-7

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pp. vii-viii

Eric Bowne has written a guide to what remains of the ancient world that existed in the American South from about ad 1000 to the 1600s. Many people have conceptions of ancient worlds that existed in their homelands before them. This is true of Europeans who learn in school about the ...

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pp. ix-x

This book is intended to appeal to a wide range of people with varying degrees of interest in southeastern Indian societies and archaeology. First and foremost it is designed to serve as a guidebook for people interested in visiting late prehistoric Native American archaeological sites and museums in ...

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pp. xi-xii

I was first introduced to the Ancient South in 1993 when I took Dr. Charles Hudson’s course “The Rise and Fall of Southeastern Chiefdoms” as an undergraduate at the University of Georgia. He painted such a clear and vivid picture of those societies in his lectures that I was captivated, and as a result I have ...

Mississippian Sites and Museums

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pp. xiii-xiii

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CHAPTER ONE: The Ancient South

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pp. 1-14

What follows is a guide to the late prehistoric native peoples of the American South, particularly a group of societies known collectively to scholars as Mississip-pian chiefdoms. The concept “chiefdom” refers specifically and exclusively ...

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CHAPTER TWO: The Mississippian World

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pp. 15-62

During the height of the Mississippian period, in the thirteenth century, there were at least fifty large Mississippian chiefdoms and many small ones scattered throughout the Ancient South, and the total population of the region was at least several hundred thousand. Despite the tremendous linguistic and cultural diversity among ...

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CHAPTER THREE: The Emergent and Early Mississippian Period, AD 800–1200

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pp. 63-108

The Mississippi Valley region around modern St. Louis was the heartland of the Mississippian way of life. During the tenth century, people there came to depend on corn supplemented by squash and other minor domesticates as the staple of their diet ...

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CHAPTER FOUR: The Middle Mississippian Period, AD 1200–1400

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pp. 109-178

The thirteenth and fourteenth centuries have justifiably been referred to as the high point of Mississippian culture, the period of its greatest geographic extent. Cahokia attained its peak near the beginning of this period, as did many other large and impressive Mississippian ...

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CHAPTER FIVE: The Late Mississippian Period, AD 1400–1600

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pp. 179-210

The climatic upheaval of the Little Ice Age and the social and political upheaval of the late fourteenth century continued into the fifteenth century. In some cases, these factors combined to have devastating effects — for example, ...

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CHAPTER SIX: The Decline of the Mississippian World

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pp. 211-221

What happened to the Mississippian chiefdoms of the Ancient South? There is no simple answer. But it is possible to identify some factors that led to the abandonment of the Mississippian way of life. The first was the invasion of the Ancient South by Europeans ...


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pp. 223-228

Selected Bibliography

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pp. 229-240


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pp. 241-247

E-ISBN-13: 9780820345772
E-ISBN-10: 0820345776
Print-ISBN-13: 9780820344980
Print-ISBN-10: 0820344982

Page Count: 272
Illustrations: 92 color photos, 23 b&w photos, 20 maps
Publication Year: 2013

OCLC Number: 842262348
MUSE Marc Record: Download for Mound Sites of the Ancient South

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Subject Headings

  • Mississippian culture -- Southern States.
  • Chiefdoms -- Southern States.
  • Mounds -- Southern States.
  • Southern States -- Antiquities.
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