Middle Cumberland to Dallas: Constructing Peace in the Valley


This is an abstract from the "Migration and Climate Change: The Spread of Mississippian Culture" session, at the 84th annual meeting of the Society for American Archaeology.

Based on artifact styles, regional archaeologists in the 1940s first proposed movement of Mississippian people from the Middle Cumberland Region to the Great Valley of East Tennessee. Lacking absolute dating techniques, these researchers had limited understanding of the timing or contemporaneity of the archaeological phases they were defining in these regions. High-precision dates both from older collections and new excavations now are making it possible to refine chronologies in both regions and to align observed cultural changes. By 1300 CE, the people of the Middle Cumberland region were on the move, a migration related at least in part to climatic instability including multiple drought episodes, resulting in a depopulation known as the Vacant Quarter. Beginning the 1200s CE, dramatic change from an apparent in situ Early Mississippian development in East Tennessee included rapid building of fortifications and changes in settlement patterns, mortuary practices, architecture, and pottery styles. We review these changes in the context of chronology, climate data, and cultural change in the greater region.

Cite this Record

Middle Cumberland to Dallas: Constructing Peace in the Valley. Scott Meeks, Jacob Lulewicz, Shawn Patch, Kevin Smith, Lynne Sullivan. Presented at The 84th Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Albuquerque, NM. 2019 ( tDAR id: 451016)

Spatial Coverage

min long: -93.735; min lat: 24.847 ; max long: -73.389; max lat: 39.572 ;

Record Identifiers

Abstract Id(s): 23394