Cahokian Colony or Frontier Fusion? Architectural Variability and "Mississippianization" at Aztalan, Wisconsin

Author(s): Jake Pfaffenroth

Year: 2017


The concept of a "frontier zone" in which diverse peoples would have been equally susceptible to each others’ influences offers a dynamic and multi-scalar approach to the investigation of "Mississippianization" in Cahokia’s northern hinterland. Aztalan, a site of Mississippian and Late Woodland co-residence in southern Wisconsin (ca. AD 1100-1200), has long been interpreted as a "Mississippian town" or "Cahokian colony". Mississippian-centric interpretations have led some archaeologists to suggest that Late Woodland people were a minority at Aztalan and/or were subjugated by Mississippians. I hypothesize that some aspects of the relations between Mississippian and Late Woodland peoples at Aztalan are reflected in the remnants of domestic architecture at the site. In the US Midwest, Mississippian people typically built fairly uniform, rectangular, wall-trench buildings while structures built by Late Woodland people had various shapes and were constructed using single-set posts. My analysis of architectural variability at Aztalan indicates that few structures were typical Cahokian wall-trench buildings and many were "hybrids" that incorporated traditions from both cultural groups.

Cite this Record

Cahokian Colony or Frontier Fusion? Architectural Variability and "Mississippianization" at Aztalan, Wisconsin. Jake Pfaffenroth. Presented at The 81st Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Vancouver, British Columbia. 2017 ( tDAR id: 428927)

This Resource is Part of the Following Collections

Spatial Coverage

min long: -104.634; min lat: 36.739 ; max long: -80.64; max lat: 49.153 ;

Record Identifiers

Abstract Id(s): 16378