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Ancient Chiefdoms of the Tombigbee
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A Dan Josselyn Memorial Publication


Within the last 50 years archaeologists have discovered that around the 10th century A.D., native southeastern peoples began a process of cultural change far more complex than anything that had occurred previously. These late prehistoric societies—known as Mississippian—have come to be regarded as chiefdoms. The chiefdoms are of great anthropological interest because in these kinds of societies social hierarchies or rank and status were first institutionalized.


Ancient Chiefdoms of the Tombigbee focuses on both the small- and large-scale Mississippian societies in the Tombigbee-Black Warrior River region of Alabama and Mississippi. Exploring the relationships involving polity size, degree of social ranking, and resource control provides insights into cycles of chiefdom development and fragmentation. Blitz concludes that the sanctified, security maintenance roles of communal food storage management and war leadership were a sufficient basis for formal chiefly authority but insufficient for economically based social stratification.

Table of Contents

  1. Cover
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  1. Frontmatter
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  1. Contents
  2. p. v
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  1. Tables and Figures
  2. pp. vii-x
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  1. Acknowledgments
  2. pp. xi-xii
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  1. 1. Introduction
  2. pp. 1-4
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  1. 2. Organizational Variability in Mississippian Societies
  2. pp. 5-30
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  1. 3. The Cultural-Historical Context for the Mississippian Occupation Along the Central Tombigbee River
  2. pp. 31-68
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  1. 4. Platform-Mound Excavation at Lubbub Creek
  2. pp. 69-97
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  1. 5. Storage, Defense, and Chiefs
  2. pp. 98-125
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  1. 6. Ceramic Distributions at Lubbub Creek
  2. pp. 126-152
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  1. 7. Prestige Goods at Lubbub Creek and Beyond
  2. pp. 153-178
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  1. 8. Interpretations and Conclusion
  2. pp. 179-184
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  1. Appendix
  2. pp. 185-192
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  1. Bibliography
  2. pp. 193-213
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  1. Index
  2. pp. 215-217
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