Mississippian Communities in the Northern Yazoo Basin: Bridging the Protohistoric Divide

Author(s): Erin Nelson

Year: 2017


Late Mississippi period (AD 1350-1541) archaeological sites in the northern Yazoo Basin typically consist of one or more earthen platform mounds adjacent to a large plaza surrounded by multiple residential areas. Sites are closely spaced throughout the region and evidence for smaller non-mound settlements is lacking. These observations suggest a distinctive Mississippian settlement pattern for the northern Yazoo, but they only partially address questions about past communities and the people who were part of them. In this paper, I compare household, site-level, and regional archaeological data to ethnographic descriptions of historic period Indian communities located nearby. The archaeological evidence indicates that Mississippian people moved across the landscape, founded communities, and arranged their living spaces in ways that are analogous to historic period Indian towns, notably of the Chickasaw and Choctaw. This suggests that despite the major disruption of Mississippian social institutions and practices following contact, we can use ethnographic analogy in tandem with archaeological data to understand aspects of kinship, everyday social interactions, and relations of authority in Mississippian communities.

Cite this Record

Mississippian Communities in the Northern Yazoo Basin: Bridging the Protohistoric Divide. Erin Nelson. Presented at The 81st Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Vancouver, British Columbia. 2017 ( tDAR id: 429351)

This Resource is Part of the Following Collections

Spatial Coverage

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

Record Identifiers

Abstract Id(s): 16983