The Nature of Place: Changing Mortuary Traditions During the Contact Period

Author(s): David Watt

Year: 2017


Community and identity among Mississippian communities were centered on cultural landscapes; reified by monumentality and complex political economies, regional interaction, and mortuary traditions. The transition at the end of the Mississippian period is marked by regional collapse, migration, diaspora, and ideological shifts. There is also a re-imagining of complex religious and sociopolitical structures, creation of new cultural landscapes, and re-conceptualization of collective traditions. Faced with the adversities of a changing and globalizing world, population crisis in the forms of disease and warfare, and forced migrations, latent Mississippian communities were forced to adapt and change to meet these pressures and ensure community cohesion. Changing mortuary traditions of populations at the cusp of political and social change during European contact exemplify how these important socio-religious responses to adversity affect the dynamic political interplay between colonial powers and indigenous populations during the 17th and 18th centuries. Mounds, cemeteries, and mortuary centers of Lower Mississippi Valley peoples that came under assault were also representative of an attack on that very place, cultural landscapes embedded with memories and histories of particular communities. And in the creation of new mortuary traditions and mortuary spaces, these communities sought to re-imagine traditions in new and resilient ways.

Cite this Record

The Nature of Place: Changing Mortuary Traditions During the Contact Period. David Watt. Presented at The 81st Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Vancouver, British Columbia. 2017 ( tDAR id: 430389)

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): 14966