Mississippian Conflict and the Role of the Fission-Fusion Process: An Example from East Tennessee

Author(s): Cameron Howell

Year: 2015


Increasing intensity and frequency of conflict over time is a noted characteristic of the Mississippian Period in the southeastern United States. To examine the question of why violence increases, researchers have examined many cultural institutions and environmental mechanisms that can defuse tensions as well as those that exacerbate chances for warfare. A key theoretical construct is the use of bufferzones that help to lower tensions by creating separation between competing groups. However when applying a Fission-Fusion model to Mississippian cultural growth and spread, bufferzones are replaced by frontiers that bring groups into greater contact and increase the chances of conflict. How these concepts can potentially play out are illustrated with an example from East Tennessee which incorporates Blitz and Lorenz's modified Fission-Fusion framework with landscape approaches to examine the question of why and how conflict increases during the Mississippian period.

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Mississippian Conflict and the Role of the Fission-Fusion Process: An Example from East Tennessee. Cameron Howell. Presented at The 80th Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, San Francisco, California. 2015 ( tDAR id: 398362)

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Spatial Coverage

min long: -91.274; min lat: 24.847 ; max long: -72.642; max lat: 36.386 ;