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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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Mound Construction and Community Changes within the Mississippian Town at Town Creek

Mound Construction and Community Changes within the Mississippian Town at Town Creek

Chapter:
(p.195) 11 Mound Construction and Community Changes within the Mississippian Town at Town Creek
Source:
Mississippian Mortuary Practices
Author(s):

Edmqnd A. Bqudreaux III

Publisher:
University Press of Florida
DOI:10.5744/florida/9780813034263.003.0011

The Mississippian Period was a time of significant political and social change within the native communities of the southeastern United States. Political changes within Mississippian societies included increases in power and authority for community leaders and the establishment of multiple-community political entities known as chiefdoms. If mounds were the seats and symbols of political power within Mississippian societies and if ground-level earthlodges were more accessible than structures on the summits of mounds, then access to leaders and leadership may have decreased over time. This essay focuses on the Town Creek site in North Carolina, where extensive excavations produced a large amount of data from public and domestic contexts that predate and postdate mound construction. It examines whether changes in public architecture, namely, the replacement of a ground-level earthlodge with buildings placed on a platform mound summit, reflect political and social changes within the community. It seems that a heterarchical political organization in which power was shared and negotiated among multiple social groups existed throughout the history of the Town Creek community.

Keywords:   Town Creek, Mississippian Period, North Carolina, political changes, social changes, political power, mounds, earthlodges, public architecture, political organization

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