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Mississippian Mortuary PracticesBeyond Hierarchy and the Representationist Perspective$
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Lynne P. Sullivan and Robert C. Mainfort

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780813034263

Published to Florida Scholarship Online: September 2011

DOI: 10.5744/florida/9780813034263.001.0001

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Mortuary Practices and Cultural Identity at the Turn of the Sixteenth Century in Eastern Tennessee

Mortuary Practices and Cultural Identity at the Turn of the Sixteenth Century in Eastern Tennessee

Chapter:
(p.234) 12 Mortuary Practices and Cultural Identity at the Turn of the Sixteenth Century in Eastern Tennessee
Source:
Mississippian Mortuary Practices
Author(s):

Lynne P. Sullivan

Michaelyn S. Harle

Publisher:
University Press of Florida
DOI:10.5744/florida/9780813034263.003.0012

Mortuary practices can provide insights into ritual and into differentiation across social dimensions such as gender and status. But just as differences in pottery styles may not correlate directly with social boundaries, differences in mortuary practices alone may not reflect difference in cultural identity. This essay examines multiple dimensions of mortuary practices observed at two contemporaneous late Mississippian sites in order to revisit a long-standing discussion in the archaeology of Eastern Tennessee about the relationship and cultural identities of the Mouse Creek and Dallas phases. In the 1940s, Lewis and Kneberg (1946) correlated these archaeological complexes with differing cultural groups, the Yuchi and Creek, respectively. For this exploratory study, several cultural practices (especially those that can be discerned from mortuary practices) of two contemporary groups — the mid- to late-fifteenth-century inhabitants of the Fains Island and Ledford Island sites — are compared.

Keywords:   Eastern Tennessee, cultural identity, mortuary practices, archaeology, cultural groups, Yuchi, Creek, archaeological complexes, Fains Island, Ledford Island

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