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New Histories of Pre-Columbian Florida$
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Neill J. Wallis and Asa R. Randall

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780813049366

Published to Florida Scholarship Online: September 2014

DOI: 10.5744/florida/9780813049366.001.0001

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Ritualized Practices of the Suwannee Valley Culture in North Florida

Ritualized Practices of the Suwannee Valley Culture in North Florida

(p.243) 12 Ritualized Practices of the Suwannee Valley Culture in North Florida
New Histories of Pre-Columbian Florida

Neill J. Wallis

University Press of Florida

Considerations of ritual in archaeology are often focused on mortuary practices and the deposition of finely crafted objects. From this perspective, ceremonialism and rituality in North Florida were most pronounced during the construction and inhabitation of the McKeithen site and similar Weeden Island ceremonial centers (ca. AD 200-700), where elaborate mortuary traditions were enacted, and then severely attenuated within the Suwannee Valley culture during subsequent centuries. While neither aggregation at permanent settlements nor ostentatious mortuary ceremonialism are evident in late Pre-Columbian North Florida, new evidence from the Parnell site indicates that distinctive ritual practices were located off of burial mounds and that the number of participants who gathered periodically for feasts and other ritualized events may have surpassed the social scales of previous Weeden Island ceremonial centers. Evidence of an immense feast at Parnell gives a glimpse of practices associated with extensive competitive social networks among Suwannee Valley hunter-gatherers with otherwise somewhat limited archaeological visibility.

Keywords:   Aggregation, Ceremonialism, Weeden Island, Mounds, Settlement, North Florida, Suwannee Valley

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