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Mound Building and Prestige Goods Exchange: Changing Strategies in the Cahokia Chiefdom

  • Mary Beth D. Trubitt (a1)
Abstract

I examine the shift, at about A.D. 1200 in the Mississippi River Valley Cahokia polity, from emphasizing the status and prestige of communal groups through monumental constructions to displaying and maintaining the status and prestige of individual elites using prestige goods. I interpret this transformation as a change from a “corporate” to a “network” leadership strategy. Archaeologically, these alternative strategies show up as differences in monumental construction, wealth differentiation, craft production, and exchange networks. The Moorehead phase (A.D. 1200-1275) is typically characterized as the time of Cahokia’s decline because of decreased mound building and population levels. My examination of archaeological indicators of household status and craft production reveals maximal differences between household units in status and marine shell working after A.D. 1200, with increased centralization of shell working and more intensive production by higher-status households. I argue that elite control of craft production, if present, was a late phenomenon. Rather than a decline at A.D. 1200, changes in the archaeological indicators of complexity reflect changes in the ways that power was expressed and maintained by elites in Cahokian society.

Resumen

Examino el cambio de enfoque de positión social y prestigio en la sociedad Cahokiana. Antes del 1.200 de se muestra la positión social y el prestigio comunal a través de construcciones monumentales. Después del 1.200 de se muestra la posición y el prestigio de élites individuals a través del intercambio de mercancías prestigiosas en la político del valle Cahokia del no Misisipi. Esto demuestra el cambio de la estrategia de liderazgo de tipo 'corporation' a tipo 'red'. Arqueologicamente hablando, estas estrategias alternativas muestran diferencias en la constructión monumental, la diferenciación de riqueza, la producción artesanal, y el intercambio entre diferentes comunidades. Lafase "Moorehead" (de 1.200 a 1.275 dc) se caracteriza tipicamente como el momenta del declive de Cahokia a causa de la reductión de construcciones monumentales y de los niveles de población. El examen de los indicadores arqueológicos de la positión social familiar y de la producción artesanal reveló grandes diferencias entre la positión social de las unidades familiares y el trabajo de conchas marinas después del 1.200 DC, al mismo tiempo que mostró el aumento de la centralizatión del trabajo de conchas marinas y una producción más intensa en los hogares familiares de positión social alta. Demuestro que el control de la producción artesanal por la élite fue unfenómeno tardío. Más que un declive, los cambios de los indicadores arqueológicos en la complejidad social reflejan cambios en las maneras en que ese poderfue expresado y mantenido por las élites de la sociedad Cahokiana.

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American Antiquity
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