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From Quarry to Cornfield, From Quarry to Cornfield, 0817310509, 0-8173-1050-9, 978-0-8173-1050-9, 9780817310509, , , From Quarry to Cornfield, 0817383433, 0-8173-8343-3, 978-0-8173-8343-5, 9780817383435,

From Quarry to Cornfield
The Political Economy of Mississippian Hoe Production
Charles Richard Cobb

Quality Paper
2010. 278 pp.
Price:  $34.95 s
E Book
2010. 277 pp.
Price:  $34.95 d

From Quarry to Cornfield provides an innovative model for examining the technology of hoe production and its contribution to the agriculture of Mississippian communities.

Lithic specialist Charles Cobb examines the political economy in Mississippian communities through a case study of raw material procurement and hoe production and usage at the Mill Creek site on Dillow Ridge in southwest Illinois. Cobb outlines the day-to-day activities in a Mississippian chiefdom village that flourished from about A.D. 1250 to 1500. In so doing, he provides a fascinating window into the specialized tasks of a variety of "day laborers" whose contribution to the community rested on their production of stone hoes necessary in the task of feeding the village. Overlooked in most previous studies, the skills and creativity of the makers of the hoes used in village farming provide a basis for broader analysis of the technology of hoe use in Mississippian times.

Although Cobb's work focuses on Mill Creek, his findings at this site are representative of the agricultural practices of Mississippian communities throughout the eastern United States. The theoretical underpinnings of Cobb's study make a clear case for a reexamination of the accepted definition of chiefdom, the mobilization of surplus labor, and issues of power, history, and agency in Mississippian times. In a well-crafted piece of writing, Cobb distinguishes himself as one of the leaders in the study of lithic technology. From Quarry to Cornfield will find a well-deserved place in the ongoing discussions of power and production in the Mississippian political economy.


Charles Richard Cobb is Associate Professor of Anthropology at Binghamton University in New York.


"Cobb offers keen insight on the debate over production in Mississippian chiefdoms by demonstrating through sophisticated theorizing and its grounding in data how surplus labor was mobilized without exploitation, and how the motives that guided producers of Mill Creek hoes were as variedas the producers themselves."
—Kenneth Sassaman, University of Florida

"One of the first efforts to study lithic production as both a material and a social process . . . . This study will for a long time provide an important model for others seeking to place production in a truly historical materialistic framework."
American Antiquity

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