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Quantifying Variation in Ramey Incised Motifs: A Stylistic Evaluation of Cahokian Authority Across the American Bottom

Author(s): Madelaine Azar

Year: 2017

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Ramey Incised jars, often considered to be indicative of Cahokia’s twelfth-century Stirling Phase fluorescence, are characterized by angular shoulders, polished exteriors, and incised symbolic motifs arranged around the vessel orifice. Thought to be for ritual or symbolic use, the ceramic type is not only present at Cahokia, but ubiquitous across sites in the American Bottom. However, the process through which these vessels were manufactured and then disseminated is still not fully understood. An evaluation of temporal and spatial variation in Ramey Incised motifs throughout the American Bottom was conducted in order to better understand levels of standardization, elite control, and Cahokian influence involved in the production and distribution of Ramey Incised ceramics. Motif data indicate that the Ramey Incised manufacturing process was not likely concentrated within one central site. Many Ramey Incised vessels may have been created at the site from which they originate. The results may also suggest the existence of stylistic and political autonomy, as well as cultural diversity, among many of Cahokia’s satellite settlements. Contrary to proposed models of far-reaching, hierarchical Cahokian authority, American Bottom social organization during the twelfth century may be better understood in terms of a decentralized heterarchy.

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Quantifying Variation in Ramey Incised Motifs: A Stylistic Evaluation of Cahokian Authority Across the American Bottom. Madelaine Azar. Presented at The 81st Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Vancouver, British Columbia. 2017 ( tDAR id: 431552)


Geographic Keywords
North America - Midwest

Spatial Coverage

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

Record Identifiers

Abstract Id(s): 14795

Arizona State University The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation National Science Foundation National Endowment for the Humanities Society for American Archaeology Archaeological Institute of America