Signs of Power
The Rise of Cultural Complexity in the Southeast
400 Pages, 6.12 x 9.25 x 1.20 in
- Published: May 2004
- Published: November 2010
Traces the sources of power and large-scale organization of prehistoric peoples among Archaic societies.
By focusing on the first instances of mound building, pottery making, fancy polished stone and bone, as well as specialized chipped stone, artifacts, and their widespread exchange, this book explores the sources of power and organization among Archaic societies. It investigates the origins of these technologies and their effects on long-term (evolutionary) and short-term (historical) change.
The characteristics of first origins in social complexity belong to 5,000- to 6,000-year-old Archaic groups who inhabited the southeastern United States. In Signs of Power, regional specialists identify the conditions, causes, and consequences that define organization and social complexity in societies. Often termed "big mound power," these considerations include the role of demography, kinship, and ecology in sociocultural change; the meaning of geometry and design in sacred groupings; the degree of advancement in stone tool technologies; and differentials in shell ring sizes that reflect social inequality.
Contents Figures 000 Tables 000 Preface and Acknowledgments 000 1. Big Mounds, Big Rings, Big Power Jon L. Gibson and Philip J. Carr 000 2. Late Archaic Fisher-Foragers in the ApalachicolaLower Chattahoochee Valley, Northwest FloridaSouth Georgia/Alabama Nancy Marie White 000 3. Measuring Shell Rings for Social Inequality Michael Russo 000 4. Regional-Scale Interaction Networks and the Emergence of Cultural Complexity along the Northern Margins of the Southeast Richard W. Jefferies 000 5. The Green River in Comparison to the Lower Mississippi Valley during the Archaic: To Build Mounds or Not to Build Mounds? George M. Crothers 000 6. Cultural Complexity in the Middle Archaic of Mississippi Samuel O. Brookes 000 7. The Burkett Site (23MI20): Implications for Cultural Complexity and Origins Prentice M. Thomas, Jr., L. Janice Campbell, and James R. Morehead 000 8. Poverty Point Chipped-Stone Tool Raw Materials: Inferring Social and Economic Strategies Philip J. Carr and Lee H. Stewart 000 9. Are We Fixing to Make the Same Mistake Again? Joe Saunders 000 10. Surrounding the Sacred: Geometry and Design of Early Mound Groups as Meaning and Function John E. Clark 000 11. Crossing the Symbolic Rubicon in the Southeast Kenneth E. Sassaman and Michael J. Heckenberger 000 12. Explaining Sociopolitical Complexity in the Foraging Adaptations of the Southeastern United States: The Roles of Demography, Kinship, and Ecology in Sociocultural Evolution Randolph J. Widmer 000 13. The Power of Beneficent Obligation in First MoundBuilding Societies Jon L. Gibson 000 14. Archaic Mounds and the Archaeology of Southeastern Tribal Societies David G. Anderson 000 15. Old Mounds, Ancient Hunter-Gatherers, and Modern Archaeologists George R. Milner 000 References Cited 000 Contributors 000 Index 000
Library of Congress Subject Headings for this publication: Mounds Southern States, Indians of North America Southern States Antiquities
"This volume aptly illustrates the very complex nature of Archaic societies that constructed the earliest earthworks in the New World and sets their activities in the broader context of their times."--John Kelly, Washington University at St. Louis
"The real value of Signs of Power is that several key chapters address central issues in archaeology, such as the nature of power, the meaning of socially constructed landscapes (i.e., mounds), technology, interaction, and social identity. The essays in this volume are valuable not only for the Southeastern archaeologist but also for anyone interested in the genesis of these particular phenomena in prehistory."Southeastern Archaeology