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Cahokia's Complexities, Cahokia's Complexities, 081731976X, 0-8173-1976-X, 978-0-8173-1976-2, 9780817319762, , Archaeology of the American South: New Directions and Perspectives, Cahokia's Complexities, 0817391738, 0-8173-9173-8, 978-0-8173-9173-7, 9780817391737, , Archaeology of the American South: New Directions and Perspective

Cahokia's Complexities
Ceremonies and Politics of the First Mississippian Farmers
Susan M. Alt

Trade Cloth
2018. 176 pp.
55 B&W figures / 3 maps / 7 tables
Price:  $49.95 s
Expected Availability 4/24/2018
E Book
2018. 168 pp.
55 B&W figures / 3 maps / 7 tables
Price:  $49.95 d
Expected Availability 4/24/2018

Critical new discoveries and archaeological patterns increase understanding of early Mississippian culture and society.

The reasons for the rise and fall of early cities and ceremonial centers around the world have been sought for centuries. In the United States, Cahokia has been the focus of intense archaeological work to explain its mysteries. Cahokia was the first and exponentially the largest of the Mississippian centers that appeared across the Midwest and Southeast after AD 1000. Located near present-day East St. Louis, Illinois, the central complex of Cahokia spanned more than 12 square kilometers and encompassed more than 120 earthen mounds.

As one of the foremost experts on Cahokia, Susan M. Alt addresses long-standing considerations of eastern Woodlands archaeology—the beginnings, character, and ending of Mississippian culture (AD 1050–1600)—from a novel theoretical and empirical vantage point. Through this case study on farmers’ immigration and resettling, Alt’s narrative reanalyzes the relationship between administration and diversity, incorporating critical new discoveries and archaeological patterns from outside of Cahokia.

Alt examines the cultural landscape of the Cahokia flood plain and the layout of one extraordinary upland site, Grossman, as an administrative settlement where local farmers might have seen or participated in Cahokian rituals and ceremonies involving a web of ancestors, powers, and places. Alt argues that a farming district outside the center provides definitive evidences of the attempted centralized administration of a rural hinterland.

Susan M. Alt is an associate professor of anthropology and faculty curator at Glenn A. Black Laboratory of Archaeology, Indiana University. She is the editor of Ancient Complexities: New Perspectives in Precolumbian North America and coeditor of Medieval Mississippians: The Cahokian World.

Cahokia's Complexities engages with interesting, broadly relevant anthropological theory and grounds this engagement in a detailed material case study.”
—Meghan C. L. Howey, author of Mound Builders and Monument Makers of the Northern Great Lakes, 1200–1600 and associate editor of the Journal of Archaeological Anthropology

“Alt outlines interesting ideas about the role of hybridity and diversity in the development of Cahokia, one of the most complex polities and cultural landscapes of Native North America. Cahokia’s Complexities is an important book about current archaeological knowledge of the Cahokian cultural landscape, and in shaping what we will learn from new archaeological finds in the years to come in the American Bottom and in the Cahokian diaspora, and it is an important contribution to broader scholarly conversations in archaeology about complexity.”
—Christopher B. Rodning, author of Center Places and Cherokee Towns: Archaeological Perspectives on Native American Architecture and Landscape in the Southern Appalachians

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Edited by Adam King