An important case study of chiefdom collapse and societal reemergence.
Caborn-Welborn, a late Mississippian (A.D. 1400?) farming society centered at the confluence of the Ohio and Wabash Rivers (in what is now southwestern Indiana, southeastern Illinois, and northwestern Kentucky), developed following the collapse of the Angel chiefdom (A.D. 1000?). Using ceramic and settlement data, David Pollack examines the ways in which that new society reconstructed social, political, and economic relationships from the remnants of the Angel chiefdom. Unlike most instances of the demise of a complex society led by elites, the Caborn-Welborn population did not become more inward-looking, as indicated by an increase in extraregional interaction, nor did they disperse to smaller more widely scattered settlements, as evidenced by a continuation of a hierarchy that included large villages.
This book makes available for the first time detailed, well-illustrated descriptions of Caborn-Welborn ceramics, identifies ceramic types and attributes that reflect Caborn-Welborn interaction with Oneota tribal groups and central Mississippi valley Mississippian groups, and offers an internal regional chronology. Based on intraregional differences in ceramic decoration, the types of vessels interred with the dead, and cemetery location, Pollack suggests that in addition to the former Angel population, Caborn-Welborn society may have included households that relocated to the Ohio/Wabash confluence from nearby collapsing polities, and that Caborn-Welborn's sociopolitical organization could be better considered as a riverine confederacy.
"A fine scholarly presentation of the data, resulting in a new interpretation of this culture. . . . Dr. Pollack has produced an excellent case study of the collapse of a Mississippian society and its subsequent reformation. Since the unfortunate looting of the Slack Farm site in the late 1980s, archaeologists have wanted to see information on this society. . . . The graphics are most impressive."
â€”Marvin T. Smith, Valdosta State University
David Pollack is Staff Archaeologist with the Kentucky Heritage Council and Director of the Kentucky Archaeological Survey.