Skip to main content
    • Aa
    • Aa

Community and Ritual Within the Mississippian Center at Town Creek

  • Edmond A. Boudreaux (a1)

This article evaluates aspects of an occupational history that was developed for the Town Creek site, a small Mississippian center in the North Carolina Piedmont that was occupied sometime between A.D. 1150–1400. Town Creek’s occupational history suggests that its Mississippian community consisted of multiple, discrete household groups, and that these groups were important throughout the center’s existence. Analyses of architectural, mortuary, and ceramic data indicate that Town Creek began as a town with a substantial domestic population, but it evolved into more of a vacant center later in time. This decline in domestic population coincided with significant evidence for site-wide ritual activity that included the construetion of a platform mound and the use of cemeteries in former house locations. Parallels between the small center at Town Creek and some of the largest Mississippian centers, especially the persistence of household-group spaces and an emphasis on ritual activities later in time, suggest that interaction among discrete social groups within a ritual context was a salient part of being Mississippian.


Este artículo evalúa los aspectos de historia ocupacional que fue desarollada para el sitio llamado Town Creek, un pequeño centro de Mississippi localizado en el Piedmont de Carolina del Norte que estaba ocupado entre los años 1150–1400 d. C. La historia ocupacional de Town Creek sugiere que su comunidad indígena del grupo llamado Mississippi consisto de varios grupos y los hor gares separados, y estos grupos fueron muy importantes en toda de la existencia del centro. Los análisis de los datos arquitectónicos, funerarias, y cerámicas indican que Town Creek comenzó como un pueblo con una población interna substancial, este se convertió en más de un centro vacio posterior después en el tiempo. Este descenso de la población local coincidió con evidencia significativa para la actividades rituales en todo el sitio, que incluyó la construcción de un montículo de la plataforma y el uso de los cementerios en los lugares de las casas anteriores. Los paralelismos entre el centro pequeño. Town Creek, con algunos de los centros más grandes del Mississippi, especialmente por la persistencia de los espacios grupales de hogares y un énfasis en las actividades rituales más tarde en el tiempo, sugieren que las interacciones entre grupos sociales discretas en un contexto ritual fue una parte sobresaliente de ser Mississippian.

Linked references
Hide All

This list contains references from the content that can be linked to their source. For a full set of references and notes please see the PDF or HTML where available.

John H. Blitz 1999 Mississippian Chiefdoms and the Fission-Fusion Process. American Antiquity 64:577592.

John H. Blitz 2010 New Perspectives in Mississippian Archaeology. Journal of Archaeological Research 18:139.

John H. Blitz , and Patrick Livingood 2004 Sociopolitical Implications of Mississippian Mound Volume. American Antiquity 69:291301.

Edmond A. Boudreaux Ill 2010a A Functional Analysis of Mississippian Ceramic Vessels from Town Creek. Southeastern Archaeology 29:830.

Edmond A. Boudreaux Ill 2010b Mound Construction and Change in the Mississippian Community at Town Creek. In Mississippian Mortuary Practices: Beyond Hierarchy and the Representationist Perspective, edited by Robert C. Mainfort and Lynne P. Sullivan, pp. 195233. University Press of Florida, Gainesville.

Charles R. Cobb 2003 Mississippian Chiefdoms: How Complex? Annual Review of Anthropology 32:6384.

Charles R. Cobb , and Adam King 2005 Re-Inventing Mississippian Tradition at Etowah, Georgia. Journal of Archaeological Method and Theory 12:167192.

Kent V. Flannery 2002 The Origins of the Village Revisited: From Nuclear to Extended Households. American Antiquity 67:417433.

Todd L. Howell 1995 Tracking Zuni Gender and Leadership Roles across the Contact Period. Journal of Anthropological Research 51:125147.

Todd L. Howell 1996 Identifying Leaders at Hawikku. Kiva 62:6182.

Tristram R. Kidder 2004 Plazas as Architecture: An Example from the Raffman Site, Northeast Louisiana. American Antiquity 69:514532.

Adam King 2010 Multiple Groups, Overlapping Symbols, and the Creation of a Sacred Space at Etowah's Mound C. In Mississippian Mortuary Practices: Beyond Hierarchy and the Representationist Perspective, edited by Lynne P. Sullivan and Robert C. Mainfort, Jr., pp. 5473. University Press of Florida, Gainesville.

Vernon J. Knight Jr. 1990 Social Organization and the Evolution of Hierarchy in Southeastern Chiefdoms. Journal of Anthropological Research 46:122.

Timothy A. Kohler , and Eric Blinman 1987 Solving Mixture Problems in Archaeology: Analysis of Ceramic Materials for Dating and Demographic Reconstruction. Journal of Anthropological Archaeology 6:128.

Owen Lindauer , and John H. Blitz 1997 Higher Ground: The Archaeology of North American Platform Mounds. Journal of Archaeological Research 5:169207.

Jon Muller 1997 Mississippian Political Economy. Plenum Press, New York.

Vincas P. Steponaitis 1986 Prehistoric Archaeology in the Southeastern United States, 1970–1985. Annual Review of Anthropology 15:363404.

Gregory D. Wilson , Vincas P. Steponaitis , and Keith Jacobi 2010 Social and Spatial Dimensions of Moundville Mortuary Practices. In Mississippian Mortuary Practices: Beyond Hierarchy and the Representationist Perspective, edited by Lynne P. Sullivan and Robert C. Mainfort, Jr., pp. 7489. University Press of Florida, Gainesville.

Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

American Antiquity
  • ISSN: 0002-7316
  • EISSN: 2325-5064
  • URL: /core/journals/american-antiquity
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *


Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 14 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 30 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between 20th January 2017 - 24th September 2017. This data will be updated every 24 hours.