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Archaeology and Ancient Religion in the American Midcontinent, Archaology and Ancient Religion in the American Midcontinent, 0817319964, 0-8173-1996-4, 978-0-8173-1996-0, 9780817319960, , Archaeology of the American South: New Directions and Perspectives, Archaology and Ancient Religion in the American Midcontinent, 0817392009, 0-8173-9200-9, 978-0-8173-9200-0, 9780817392000, , Archaeology of the American South: New Directions and Perspective

Archaeology and Ancient Religion in the American Midcontinent
Edited by Brad H. Koldehoff and Timothy R. Pauketat

Hardcover
2018. 368 pp.
53 B&W figures / 12 maps / 9 tables
978-0-8173-1996-0
Price:  $64.95 s
E Book
2018. 368 pp.
53 B&W figures / 12 maps / 9 tables
978-0-8173-9200-0
Price:  $64.95 d

Analyses of big datasets signal important directions for the archaeology of religion in the Archaic to Mississippian Native North America

Across North America, huge data accumulations derived from decades of cultural resource management studies, combined with old museum collections, provide archaeologists with unparalleled opportunities to explore new questions about the lives of ancient native peoples. For many years the topics of technology, economy, and political organization have received the most research attention, while ritual, religion, and symbolic expression have largely been ignored. This was often the case because researchers considered such topics beyond reach of their methods and data.

In Archaeology and Ancient Religion in the American Midcontinent, editors Brad H. Koldehoff and Timothy R. Pauketat and their contributors demonstrate that this notion is outdated through their analyses of a series of large datasets from the midcontinent, ranging from tiny charred seeds to the cosmic alignments of mounds, they consider new questions about the religious practices and lives of native peoples. At the core of this volume are case studies that explore religious practices from the Cahokia area and surrounding Illinois uplands. Additional chapters explore these topics using data collected from sites and landscapes scattered along the Mississippi and Ohio River valleys.

This innovative work facilitates a greater appreciation for, and understanding of, ancient native religious practices, especially their seamless connections to everyday life and livelihood. The contributors do not advocate for a reduced emphasis on technology, economy, and political organization; rather, they recommend expanding the scope of such studies to include considerations of how religious practices shaped the locations of sites, the character of artifacts, and the content and arrangement of sites and features. They also highlight analytical approaches that are applicable to archaeological datasets from across the Americas and beyond.

Brad H. Koldehoff is the chief archaeologist and cultural resources unit chief at the Illinois Department of Transportation and a research assistant at the Illinois State Archaeological Survey and the Illinois State Museum. Koldehoff has written numerous technical reports about Mississippi Valley archaeological sites, including Cahokia, as well as journal articles and book chapters.

Timothy R. Pauketat is a professor of anthropology and medieval studies at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, and a visiting research scientist at the Illinois State Archaeological Survey. Pauketat is one of the foremost experts on Cahokia and particularly esteemed for theoretical perspectives on early urbanism, religion, and the relational ontologies of Woodland and Mississippian peoples of eastern North America. A prolific author and editor, representative publications include An Archaeology of the Cosmos: Rethinking Agency and Religion in Ancient America, Cahokia: Ancient America’s Great City on the Mississippi, and The Oxford Handbook of North American Archaeology.

Archaeology and Ancient Religion in the American Midcontinent makes original and significant contributions to the fields of both Cahokia studies and religious studies, and is filled with sound research and scholarship.”
—Cheryl Claassen, author of Beliefs and Rituals in Archaic Eastern North America: An Interpretive Guide and Feasting with Shellfish in the Southern Ohio Valley: Archaic Sacred Sites and Rituals

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