Materialities of Religious Transformation from Coast to Coast in Pre-Columbian Florida

Author(s): Neill Wallis

Year: 2016


During the 7th century in Florida, a decisive shift is apparent in the ways people were positioned in relation to burial sites and how they manufactured and interacted with portable objects. The transition ushered in the Weeden Island archaeological culture, well-known for the prevalence of exquisitely crafted pottery vessels and a characteristic mortuary regime widely adopted across the Gulf coastal plain and beyond. This paper examines the historical moment of change in terms of shifting material nodes in relational networks constituted through burial mounds and their contents. From the vantage point of three distinctive coastal regions—the eastern panhandle, the lower Suwannee River, and the Lower St. Johns River—diverse ways of navigating changing relational fields through various loci of spiritual power are explored. Considerations include the forces exerted by the materiality of existing (pre-7th century) burial mounds, the orientation of mounds in relation to other landscape and celestial features, the depositional structure of mounds, and the distributed networks enacted through pottery vessels, particularly three-dimensional effigies of birds and humans with singular referents. This multi-sited analysis illustrates the dynamic interplay of local and regional material intercessions of spirit worlds and the cosmos.

Cite this Record

Materialities of Religious Transformation from Coast to Coast in Pre-Columbian Florida. Neill Wallis. Presented at The 81st Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Orlando, Florida. 2016 ( tDAR id: 404019)


Spatial Coverage

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