Mississippian Occupations at the Ravensford and Iotla Sites

Author(s): Tasha Benyshek; Paul Webb

Year: 2017


Recent large-scale excavations at the Ravensford and Iotla sites, and elsewhere in western North Carolina’s Cherokee "heartland", have documented Mississippian components that include architectural remains as well as artifact assemblages. But while Late Mississippian occupations have been found on many sites, Early and Middle Mississippian households and settlements have been difficult to isolate. Increased numbers of systematic surveys and excavations in recent years have uncovered evidence of these less visible occupations. Early and Middle Mississippian phases in western North Carolina have not been formally defined, but include both Early Pisgah and Etowah related phases. Mississippian influence appears to have been present during Early Pisgah in the form of flexed pole architecture, use of shell tempered ceramics, and maize agriculture. No evidence has yet been recovered that mounds were built during the Early Pisgah phases. By the Early Qualla phase, which includes later Pisgah ceramics, all of the hallmarks of Mississippian culture appear to be present. It is unclear if a chiefdom level of sociopolitical organization was present, however, and individual Mississippian towns and associated dispersed communities in the mountains may always have been relatively independent, as was true of the later Cherokee towns.

Cite this Record

Mississippian Occupations at the Ravensford and Iotla Sites. Tasha Benyshek, Paul Webb. Presented at The 81st Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Vancouver, British Columbia. 2017 ( tDAR id: 430754)


Spatial Coverage

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

Record Identifiers

Abstract Id(s): 16947