Persistent Places, Enduring Objects: Ritualized Spaces and Things in the Powhatan Political World
Seventeenth-century colonial chroniclers repeatedly mention a series of places and objects that surrounded political negotiations and efforts at alliance-building by Powhatan societies. While regional scholarship has focused on competition over subsistence resources, regional trade dynamics, and the regulated exchange of "prestige goods" as central to the development of these political structures, we shift the focus toward the engagement between these societies and specific places and objects whose enduring legacies spanned multiple generations. We argue that the development of the seventeenth-century political geography was predicated on the maintenance of persistent ritualized spaces and the circulation of enduring objects whose shifting meanings connected the past and present, bolstered political structures, and facilitated the transfer of power from one generation to the next. Archaeological evidence indicates that shell and copper adornment objects entered the region during the thirteenth century, coinciding with the first appearance of palisade architecture, and the development of intentionally constructed ritual landscapes that served to create individual community identities, while at the same time drawing communities into a cross-regional political system.
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Persistent Places, Enduring Objects: Ritualized Spaces and Things in the Powhatan Political World. Christopher Shephard, Martin Gallivan. Presented at The 82nd Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Washington, DC. 2018 ( tDAR id: 445337)
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Abstract Id(s): 21614