Mississippian culture
Overview
 
The Mississippian culture was a mound-building Native American
Native Americans in the United States
Native Americans in the United States are the indigenous peoples in North America within the boundaries of the present-day continental United States, parts of Alaska, and the island state of Hawaii. They are composed of numerous, distinct tribes, states, and ethnic groups, many of which survive as...

 culture
Archaeological culture
An archaeological culture is a recurring assemblage of artifacts from a specific time and place, which are thought to constitute the material culture remains of a particular past human society. The connection between the artifacts is based on archaeologists' understanding and interpretation and...

 that flourished in what is now the Midwestern
Midwestern United States
The Midwestern United States is one of the four U.S. geographic regions defined by the United States Census Bureau, providing an official definition of the American Midwest....

, Eastern
Eastern United States
The Eastern United States, the American East, or simply the East is traditionally defined as the states east of the Mississippi River. The first two tiers of states west of the Mississippi have traditionally been considered part of the West, but can be included in the East today; usually in...

, and Southeastern
Southeastern United States
The Southeastern United States, colloquially referred to as the Southeast, is the eastern portion of the Southern United States. It is one of the most populous regions in the United States of America....

 United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

 from approximately 800 CE
Common Era
Common Era ,abbreviated as CE, is an alternative designation for the calendar era originally introduced by Dionysius Exiguus in the 6th century, traditionally identified with Anno Domini .Dates before the year 1 CE are indicated by the usage of BCE, short for Before the Common Era Common Era...

 to 1500 CE, varying regionally.

The Mississippian way of life began to develop in the Mississippi River
Mississippi River
The Mississippi River is the largest river system in North America. Flowing entirely in the United States, this river rises in western Minnesota and meanders slowly southwards for to the Mississippi River Delta at the Gulf of Mexico. With its many tributaries, the Mississippi's watershed drains...

 Valley (for which it is named). Cultures in the tributary Tennessee River
Tennessee River
The Tennessee River is the largest tributary of the Ohio River. It is approximately 652 miles long and is located in the southeastern United States in the Tennessee Valley. The river was once popularly known as the Cherokee River, among other names...

 Valley may have also begun to develop Mississippian characteristics at this point.
Unanswered Questions
Encyclopedia
The Mississippian culture was a mound-building Native American
Native Americans in the United States
Native Americans in the United States are the indigenous peoples in North America within the boundaries of the present-day continental United States, parts of Alaska, and the island state of Hawaii. They are composed of numerous, distinct tribes, states, and ethnic groups, many of which survive as...

 culture
Archaeological culture
An archaeological culture is a recurring assemblage of artifacts from a specific time and place, which are thought to constitute the material culture remains of a particular past human society. The connection between the artifacts is based on archaeologists' understanding and interpretation and...

 that flourished in what is now the Midwestern
Midwestern United States
The Midwestern United States is one of the four U.S. geographic regions defined by the United States Census Bureau, providing an official definition of the American Midwest....

, Eastern
Eastern United States
The Eastern United States, the American East, or simply the East is traditionally defined as the states east of the Mississippi River. The first two tiers of states west of the Mississippi have traditionally been considered part of the West, but can be included in the East today; usually in...

, and Southeastern
Southeastern United States
The Southeastern United States, colloquially referred to as the Southeast, is the eastern portion of the Southern United States. It is one of the most populous regions in the United States of America....

 United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

 from approximately 800 CE
Common Era
Common Era ,abbreviated as CE, is an alternative designation for the calendar era originally introduced by Dionysius Exiguus in the 6th century, traditionally identified with Anno Domini .Dates before the year 1 CE are indicated by the usage of BCE, short for Before the Common Era Common Era...

 to 1500 CE, varying regionally.

The Mississippian way of life began to develop in the Mississippi River
Mississippi River
The Mississippi River is the largest river system in North America. Flowing entirely in the United States, this river rises in western Minnesota and meanders slowly southwards for to the Mississippi River Delta at the Gulf of Mexico. With its many tributaries, the Mississippi's watershed drains...

 Valley (for which it is named). Cultures in the tributary Tennessee River
Tennessee River
The Tennessee River is the largest tributary of the Ohio River. It is approximately 652 miles long and is located in the southeastern United States in the Tennessee Valley. The river was once popularly known as the Cherokee River, among other names...

 Valley may have also begun to develop Mississippian characteristics at this point. Almost all dated Mississippian sites predate 1539-1540 (when Hernando de Soto
Hernando de Soto (explorer)
Hernando de Soto was a Spanish explorer and conquistador who, while leading the first European expedition deep into the territory of the modern-day United States, was the first European documented to have crossed the Mississippi River....

 explored the area).

Cultural traits

A number of cultural traits are recognized as being characteristic of the Mississippians. Although not all Mississippian peoples practiced all of the following activities, they were distinct from their ancestors in adoption of some or all of these traits.
  1. The construction of large, truncated earthwork
    Earthworks (archaeology)
    In archaeology, earthwork is a general term to describe artificial changes in land level. Earthworks are often known colloquially as 'lumps and bumps'. Earthworks can themselves be archaeological features or they can show features beneath the surface...

     pyramid mounds, or platform mound
    Platform mound
    A platform mound is any earthwork or mound intended to support a structure or activity.-Eastern North America:The indigenous peoples of North America built substructure mounds for well over a thousand years starting in the Archaic period and continuing through the Woodland period...

    s. Such mounds were usually square, rectangular, or occasionally circular. Structures (domestic houses, temples, burial buildings, or other) were usually constructed atop such mounds.
  2. Maize
    Maize
    Maize known in many English-speaking countries as corn or mielie/mealie, is a grain domesticated by indigenous peoples in Mesoamerica in prehistoric times. The leafy stalk produces ears which contain seeds called kernels. Though technically a grain, maize kernels are used in cooking as a vegetable...

    -based agriculture. In most places, the development of Mississippian culture coincided with adoption of comparatively large-scale, intensive maize
    Maize
    Maize known in many English-speaking countries as corn or mielie/mealie, is a grain domesticated by indigenous peoples in Mesoamerica in prehistoric times. The leafy stalk produces ears which contain seeds called kernels. Though technically a grain, maize kernels are used in cooking as a vegetable...

     agriculture, which supported larger populations and craft specialization.
  3. The adoption and use of riverine (or more rarely marine) shell-tempering agents in their ceramics
    Ceramics (art)
    In art history, ceramics and ceramic art mean art objects such as figures, tiles, and tableware made from clay and other raw materials by the process of pottery. Some ceramic products are regarded as fine art, while others are regarded as decorative, industrial or applied art objects, or as...

    .
  4. Widespread trade networks extending as far west as the Rockies
    Rocky Mountains
    The Rocky Mountains are a major mountain range in western North America. The Rocky Mountains stretch more than from the northernmost part of British Columbia, in western Canada, to New Mexico, in the southwestern United States...

    , north to the Great Lakes
    Great Lakes
    The Great Lakes are a collection of freshwater lakes located in northeastern North America, on the Canada – United States border. Consisting of Lakes Superior, Michigan, Huron, Erie, and Ontario, they form the largest group of freshwater lakes on Earth by total surface, coming in second by volume...

    , south to the Gulf of Mexico
    Gulf of Mexico
    The Gulf of Mexico is a partially landlocked ocean basin largely surrounded by the North American continent and the island of Cuba. It is bounded on the northeast, north and northwest by the Gulf Coast of the United States, on the southwest and south by Mexico, and on the southeast by Cuba. In...

    , and east to the Atlantic Ocean
    Atlantic Ocean
    The Atlantic Ocean is the second-largest of the world's oceanic divisions. With a total area of about , it covers approximately 20% of the Earth's surface and about 26% of its water surface area...

    .
  5. The development of the chiefdom
    Chiefdom
    A chiefdom is a political economy that organizes regional populations through a hierarchy of the chief.In anthropological theory, one model of human social development rooted in ideas of cultural evolution describes a chiefdom as a form of social organization more complex than a tribe or a band...

     or complex chiefdom level of social complexity.
  6. The development of institutionalized social inequality
    Social inequality
    Social inequality refers to a situation in which individual groups in a society do not have equal social status. Areas of potential social inequality include voting rights, freedom of speech and assembly, the extent of property rights and access to education, health care, quality housing and other...

    .
  7. A centralization of control of combined political and religious power in the hands of few or one.
  8. The beginnings of a settlement hierarchy, in which one major center (with mound
    Mound
    A mound is a general term for an artificial heaped pile of earth, gravel, sand, rocks, or debris. The most common use is in reference to natural earthen formation such as hills and mountains, particularly if they appear artificial. The term may also be applied to any rounded area of topographically...

    s) has clear influence or control over a number of lesser communities, which may or may not possess a smaller number of mounds.
  9. The adoption of the paraphernalia of the Southeastern Ceremonial Complex
    Southeastern Ceremonial Complex
    The Southeastern Ceremonial Complex is the name given to the regional stylistic similarity of artifacts, iconography, ceremonies, and mythology of the Mississippian culture that coincided with their adoption of maize agriculture and chiefdom-level complex social organization from...

    (SECC), also called the Southern Cult. This is the belief system of the Mississippians as we know it. SECC items are found in Mississippian-culture sites from Wisconsin
    Wisconsin
    Wisconsin is a U.S. state located in the north-central United States and is part of the Midwest. It is bordered by Minnesota to the west, Iowa to the southwest, Illinois to the south, Lake Michigan to the east, Michigan to the northeast, and Lake Superior to the north. Wisconsin's capital is...

     (see Aztalan State Park
    Aztalan State Park
    Aztalan State Park is a Wisconsin state park located just south of the town of Aztalan, Wisconsin at latitude N 43° 4' and longitude W 88° 52', and established in 1952. It was also designated a National Historic Landmark in 1964 and added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1966...

    ) to the Gulf Coast, and from Florida
    Florida
    Florida is a state in the southeastern United States, located on the nation's Atlantic and Gulf coasts. It is bordered to the west by the Gulf of Mexico, to the north by Alabama and Georgia and to the east by the Atlantic Ocean. With a population of 18,801,310 as measured by the 2010 census, it...

     to Arkansas
    Arkansas
    Arkansas is a state located in the southern region of the United States. Its name is an Algonquian name of the Quapaw Indians. Arkansas shares borders with six states , and its eastern border is largely defined by the Mississippi River...

     and Oklahoma
    Oklahoma
    Oklahoma is a state located in the South Central region of the United States of America. With an estimated 3,751,351 residents as of the 2010 census and a land area of 68,667 square miles , Oklahoma is the 28th most populous and 20th-largest state...

    . The SECC was frequently tied in to ritual game-playing, as with chunkey
    Chunkey
    Chunkey is a game of Native American origin. It was played by rolling disc shaped stones across the ground and throwing spears at them in an attempt to place the spear as close to the stopped stone as possible...

    .


The Mississippians had no writing system
Writing system
A writing system is a symbolic system used to represent elements or statements expressible in language.-General properties:Writing systems are distinguished from other possible symbolic communication systems in that the reader must usually understand something of the associated spoken language to...

 or stone architecture. They worked naturally occurring metal deposits, but did not smelt iron or make bronze metallurgy
Metallurgy
Metallurgy is a domain of materials science that studies the physical and chemical behavior of metallic elements, their intermetallic compounds, and their mixtures, which are called alloys. It is also the technology of metals: the way in which science is applied to their practical use...

.

Chronology

The Mississippian stage is usually divided into three or more periods. Each of these periods is an arbitrary historical distinction that varies from region to region. At one site, each period may be considered to begin earlier or later, depending on the speed of adoption or development of given Mississippian traits.
  • Early Mississippian cultures had just transitioned from the Late Woodland
    Woodland period
    The Woodland period of North American pre-Columbian cultures was from roughly 1000 BCE to 1000 CE in the eastern part of North America. The term "Woodland Period" was introduced in the 1930s as a generic header for prehistoric sites falling between the Archaic hunter-gatherers and the...

     period way of life (500–1000 C.E.). Different groups abandoned tribal
    Tribe
    A tribe, viewed historically or developmentally, consists of a social group existing before the development of, or outside of, states.Many anthropologists use the term tribal society to refer to societies organized largely on the basis of kinship, especially corporate descent groups .Some theorists...

     lifeways for increasing complexity, sedentism, centralization, and agriculture. The Early Mississippian period was from c. 1000 to 1200 C.E. Production of surplus corn and attractions of the regional chiefdoms led to rapid population concentrations in major centers.

  • The Middle Mississippian period is often considered the high point of the Mississippian era. The expansion of the great metropolis and ceremonial complex at Cahokia
    Cahokia
    Cahokia Mounds State Historic Site is the area of an ancient indigenous city located in the American Bottom floodplain, between East Saint Louis and Collinsville in south-western Illinois, across the Mississippi River from St. Louis, Missouri. The site included 120 human-built earthwork mounds...

     (in present-day Illinois), the formation of other complex chiefdom
    Chiefdom
    A chiefdom is a political economy that organizes regional populations through a hierarchy of the chief.In anthropological theory, one model of human social development rooted in ideas of cultural evolution describes a chiefdom as a form of social organization more complex than a tribe or a band...

    s, and the spread and development of SECC art and symbolism are characteristic changes of this period. The Mississippian traits listed above came to be widespread throughout the region. In most places, this period is recognized as occurring c. 1200–1400 C.E.

  • The Late Mississippian period, usually considered from c. 1400 to European contact, is characterized by increasing war
    War
    War is a state of organized, armed, and often prolonged conflict carried on between states, nations, or other parties typified by extreme aggression, social disruption, and usually high mortality. War should be understood as an actual, intentional and widespread armed conflict between political...

    fare, political turmoil, and population movement. The population of Cahokia dispersed early in this period (1350–1400), perhaps migrating to other rising political centers. More defensive structures are often seen at sites, and sometimes a decline in mound-building and ceremonialism. Although some areas continued an essentially Middle Mississippian culture until the first significant contact with Europeans, the population of most areas had dispersed or were experiencing severe social stress by 1500. Along with the contemporary Anasazi, these cultural collapses coincide with the global climate change of the Little Ice Age
    Little Ice Age
    The Little Ice Age was a period of cooling that occurred after the Medieval Warm Period . While not a true ice age, the term was introduced into the scientific literature by François E. Matthes in 1939...

    . Scholars have theorized that drought and the collapse of maize agriculture, together with possible deforestation and overhunting by the concentrated populations, forced them to move away from major sites.

Contact with Europeans

At Joara
Joara
Joara was a large Native American settlement, a regional chiefdom of the Mississippian culture, located in what is now Burke County, North Carolina. Joara is notable as a significant archaeological and historic site. It was a place of encounter in 1540 between the Mississippian people and the...

, near Morganton, North Carolina
Morganton, North Carolina
Morganton is a city in Burke County, North Carolina, United States. Reader's Digest included Morganton in its list of top ten places to raise a family. The town was recently profiled in The 50 Best Small Southern Towns. The population was 17,310 at the 2000 census...

, Native Americans of the Mississippian culture interacted with Spanish
Spain
Spain , officially the Kingdom of Spain languages]] under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. In each of these, Spain's official name is as follows:;;;;;;), is a country and member state of the European Union located in southwestern Europe on the Iberian Peninsula...

 explorers of the Juan Pardo
Juan Pardo (explorer)
Juan Pardo was a Spanish explorer and conquistador who was active in the later half of the sixteenth century. He led a Spanish expedition through what is now North and South Carolina and into eastern Tennessee. He established Fort San Felipe, South Carolina , and the village of Santa Elena on...

 expedition, who built a base there in 1567 called Fort San Juan. Expedition documentation and archaeological evidence of the fort and Native American culture both exist. The soldiers were at the fort about 18 months (1567–1568) before the natives killed them and destroyed the fort. (They killed soldiers stationed at five other forts as well; only one man of 120 survived.) Sixteenth-century Spanish artifacts have been recovered from the site, marking the first European colonization in the interior of what became the United States.

Scholars have studied the records of Hernando de Soto's expedition of 1539–1543 to learn of his contacts with Mississippians, as he traveled through their villages of the Southeast. He visited many villages, in some cases staying for a month or longer. The List of sites and peoples visited by the Hernando de Soto Expedition chronicles those villages. Some encounters were violent, while others were relatively peaceable. In some cases, de Soto seems to have been used as a tool or ally in long-standing native feuds. In one example, de Soto negotiated a truce between the Pacaha
Pacaha
Pacaha was a Native American tribe encountered in 1541 by the Hernando de Soto expedition. This tribe inhabited fortified villages in what is today the northeastern portion of the U.S. state of Arkansas...

 and the Casqui
Casqui
Casqui was a Native American tribe discovered in 1541 by the Hernando de Soto expedition. This tribe inhabited fortified villages in eastern Arkansas....

.

De Soto's later encounters left about half of the Spaniards and perhaps many hundreds of Native Americans dead. The chronicles of de Soto are among the first documents written about Mississippian peoples, and are an invaluable source of information on their cultural practices. The chronicles of the Narváez expedition
Narváez expedition
The Narváez expedition was a Spanish attempt during the years 1527–1528 to colonize Spanish Florida. It was led by Pánfilo de Narváez, who was to rule as adelantado....

 were written before the de Soto expedition; the Narváez expedition that informed the Court of de Soto about the New World.

After the destruction and flight of the de Soto expedition, the Mississippian peoples continued their way of life with little direct European influence. Indirectly, however, European introductions dramatically changed native societies in the Eastern United States. Because the natives lacked immunity
Immunity (medical)
Immunity is a biological term that describes a state of having sufficient biological defenses to avoid infection, disease, or other unwanted biological invasion. Immunity involves both specific and non-specific components. The non-specific components act either as barriers or as eliminators of wide...

 to new infectious diseases, such as measles
Measles
Measles, also known as rubeola or morbilli, is an infection of the respiratory system caused by a virus, specifically a paramyxovirus of the genus Morbillivirus. Morbilliviruses, like other paramyxoviruses, are enveloped, single-stranded, negative-sense RNA viruses...

 and smallpox
Smallpox
Smallpox was an infectious disease unique to humans, caused by either of two virus variants, Variola major and Variola minor. The disease is also known by the Latin names Variola or Variola vera, which is a derivative of the Latin varius, meaning "spotted", or varus, meaning "pimple"...

, epidemics caused so many fatalities that they undermined the social order of many chiefdoms. Some groups adopted European horses and changed to nomadism. Political structures collapsed in many places.

By the time more documentary accounts were being written, the Mississippian way of life had changed irrevocably. Some groups maintained an oral tradition link to their mound-building past, such as the late 19th-century Cherokee. Other Native American groups, having migrated many hundreds of miles and lost their elders to diseases, did not know their ancestors had built the mounds dotting the landscape. This contributed to the myth of the Mound Builders as a people distinct from Native Americans, which was rigorously debunked by Cyrus Thomas
Cyrus Thomas
Cyrus Thomas was a U.S. ethnologist and entomologist prominent in the late 19th century and noted for his studies of the natural history of the American West.-Biography:Thomas was born in Kingsport, Tennessee...

 in 1894.

Known Mississippian chiefdoms

Although the Mississippian culture was severely disrupted before Europeans documented its political landscape, explorers wrote about many Mississippian political bodies and others have been discovered by research. Some of the major sites are listed below; for a more comprehensive list see List of Mississippian sites.
  • Angel Mounds
    Angel Mounds
    Angel Mounds State Historic Site is located on the Ohio River in Vanderburgh and Warrick Counties eight miles southeast of Evansville and just upriver of the confluence of the Green and Ohio rivers. Administered by the Indiana Department of Natural Resources, Division of Indiana State Museums...

    : A chiefdom in southern Indiana
    Indiana
    Indiana is a US state, admitted to the United States as the 19th on December 11, 1816. It is located in the Midwestern United States and Great Lakes Region. With 6,483,802 residents, the state is ranked 15th in population and 16th in population density. Indiana is ranked 38th in land area and is...

     near Evansville
    Evansville, Indiana
    Evansville is the third-largest city in the U.S. state of Indiana and the largest city in Southern Indiana. As of the 2010 census, the city had a total population of 117,429. It is the county seat of Vanderburgh County and the regional hub for both Southwestern Indiana and the...

    . Some archaeologists think that the Late Mississippian Caborn-Welborn culture developed from the Angel Phase
    Angel Phase
    The Angel Phase describes a 300-400-year cultural manifestation of the Mississippian culture of the central portions of the United States of America, as defined in the discipline of archaeology. Angel Phase archaeological sites date from c...

     people around 1400 CE and lasted to around 1700 CE.
  • Cahokia
    Cahokia
    Cahokia Mounds State Historic Site is the area of an ancient indigenous city located in the American Bottom floodplain, between East Saint Louis and Collinsville in south-western Illinois, across the Mississippi River from St. Louis, Missouri. The site included 120 human-built earthwork mounds...

    : Near East St. Louis, Illinois
    East St. Louis, Illinois
    East St. Louis is a city located in St. Clair County, Illinois, USA, directly across the Mississippi River from St. Louis, Missouri in the Metro-East region of Southern Illinois. As of the 2010 census, the city had a total population of 27,006, less than one-third of its peak of 82,366 in 1950...

    , Cahokia was possibly the first, and certainly the largest and most influential, of the Mississippian culture centers.
  • Emerald Mound
    Emerald Mound Site
    The Emerald Mound Site , also known as the Selzertown site, is a Plaquemine culture Mississippian period archaeological site located on the Natchez Trace Parkway near Stanton, Mississippi, United States. The site dates from the period between 1200 and 1730 CE...

    : A Plaquemine Mississippian
    Plaquemine culture
    The Plaquemine culture was an archaeological culture in the lower Mississippi River Valley in western Mississippi and eastern Louisiana. Good examples of this culture are the Medora Site in West Baton Rouge Parish, Louisiana, and the Anna, Emerald Mound, Winterville and Holly Bluff sites located...

     period archaeological site located on the Natchez Trace Parkway
    Natchez Trace Parkway
    The Natchez Trace Parkway is a National Park Service unit in the southeastern United States that commemorates the historic Old Natchez Trace and preserves sections of the original trail....

     (near present-day Stanton, Mississippi
    Stanton, Mississippi
    Stanton is an unincorporated community in Adams County, Mississippi, United States. It is shown on Google maps. It is the nearest community to Emerald Mound Site, a National Historic Landmark....

     developed nearby). The site dates from the period between 1200 and 1730 CE. The platform mound is the second-largest Pre-Columbian earthwork in the country, after Monks Mound at Cahokia.
  • Etowah
    Etowah Indian Mounds
    Etowah Indian Mounds is a archaeological site in Bartow County, Georgia south of Cartersville, in the United States. Built and occupied in three phases, from 1000–1550 CE, the prehistoric site is located on the north shore of the Etowah River. Etowah Indian Mounds Historic Site is a designated...

    : One of the major Mississippian chiefdoms, located in Georgia
    Georgia (U.S. state)
    Georgia is a state located in the southeastern United States. It was established in 1732, the last of the original Thirteen Colonies. The state is named after King George II of Great Britain. Georgia was the fourth state to ratify the United States Constitution, on January 2, 1788...

    , believed by some to be a longstanding antagonist of the Moundville
    Moundville
    Moundville is the name of several places in the United States:*Moundville, Alabama*Moundville Archaeological Site, a prehistoric chiefdom center near Tuscaloosa, Alabama*Moundville, Missouri*Moundville, Wisconsin...

     polity.
  • Grand Village of the Natchez
    Grand Village of the Natchez
    Grand Village of the Natchez, also known as the Fatherland Site, is a site encompassing a prehistoric indigenous village and earthwork mounds in present-day south Natchez, Mississippi. The village complex was constructed starting about 1200 CE by members of the prehistoric Plaquemine culture....

    : The main village of the Natchez people
    Natchez people
    The Natchez are a Native American people who originally lived in the Natchez Bluffs area, near the present-day city of Natchez, Mississippi. They spoke a language isolate that has no known close relatives, although it may be very distantly related to the Muskogean languages of the Creek...

    , with three mounds. The only mound site to be used and maintained into historic times.
  • Kincaid Site
    Kincaid Mounds State Historic Site
    The Kincaid Mounds Historic Site, circa 1050-1400 CE, was among the largest prehistoric Mississippian culture chiefdom centers, located at the southern tip of present day U.S. state of Illinois...

    : A major Mississippian mound center in southern Illinois
    Illinois
    Illinois is the fifth-most populous state of the United States of America, and is often noted for being a microcosm of the entire country. With Chicago in the northeast, small industrial cities and great agricultural productivity in central and northern Illinois, and natural resources like coal,...

     across the Ohio River
    Ohio River
    The Ohio River is the largest tributary, by volume, of the Mississippi River. At the confluence, the Ohio is even bigger than the Mississippi and, thus, is hydrologically the main stream of the whole river system, including the Allegheny River further upstream...

     from present-day Paducah, Kentucky
    Paducah, Kentucky
    Paducah is the largest city in Kentucky's Jackson Purchase Region and the county seat of McCracken County, Kentucky, United States. It is located at the confluence of the Tennessee River and the Ohio River, halfway between the metropolitan areas of St. Louis, Missouri, to the west and Nashville,...

    .
  • Moundville
    Moundville Archaeological Site
    Moundville Archaeological Site, also known as the Moundville Archaeological Park, is a Mississippian site on the Black Warrior River in Hale County, near the town of Tuscaloosa, Alabama...

    : Ranked with Cahokia as one of the two most important sites at the core of the Mississippian culture, located near Tuscaloosa, Alabama
    Tuscaloosa, Alabama
    Tuscaloosa is a city in and the seat of Tuscaloosa County in west central Alabama . Located on the Black Warrior River, it is the fifth-largest city in Alabama, with a population of 90,468 in 2010...

    .
  • Ocmulgee
    Ocmulgee National Monument
    Ocmulgee National Monument preserves traces of over ten millennia of Southeastern Native American culture, including major earthworks built more than 1,000 years ago by Mississippian culture peoples: the Great Temple and other ceremonial mounds, a burial mound, and defensive trenches...

    : Originally a Mississippian chiefdom, the site was later used by the Creek Indians into historic times.
  • The Parkin Site
    Parkin Archeological State Park
    Parkin Archeological State Park, also known as Parkin Indian Mound, is an archeological site and state park in Parkin, Cross County, Arkansas. Around 1350–1650 CE an aboriginal palisaded village existed at the site, at the confluence of the St. Francis and Tyronza Rivers. Artifacts from this...

    : The type site
    Type site
    In archaeology a type site is a site that is considered the model of a particular archaeological culture...

     for the "Parkin phase", an expression of Late Mississippian culture, believed by many archaeologists to be the province of Casqui
    Casqui
    Casqui was a Native American tribe discovered in 1541 by the Hernando de Soto expedition. This tribe inhabited fortified villages in eastern Arkansas....

     visited by Hernando de Soto in 1542.
  • Spiro Mounds
    Spiro Mounds
    Spiro Mounds is an important pre-Columbian Caddoan Mississippian culture archaeological site located in present-day eastern Oklahoma in the United States. The site is located seven miles north of Spiro, and is the only prehistoric Native American archaeological site in Oklahoma open to the public...

    : One of the best-studied archaeological centers of Caddoan Mississippian culture
    Caddoan Mississippian culture
    The Caddoan Mississippian culture was a prehistoric Native American culture considered by archaeologists as a variant of the Mississippian culture. The Caddoan Mississippians covered a large territory, including what is now Eastern Oklahoma, Western Arkansas, Northeast Texas, and Northwest Louisiana...

    , located in eastern Oklahoma
    Oklahoma
    Oklahoma is a state located in the South Central region of the United States of America. With an estimated 3,751,351 residents as of the 2010 census and a land area of 68,667 square miles , Oklahoma is the 28th most populous and 20th-largest state...

    .

Related modern nations

Mississippian peoples were almost certainly ancestral to the majority of the American Indian nations living in this region in the historic era. The historic and modern day American Indian nations believed to have descended from the overarching Mississippian Culture include: the Alabama
Alabama (people)
The Alabama or Alibamu are a Southeastern culture people of Native Americans, originally from Mississippi...

, Apalachee
Apalachee
The Apalachee are a Native American people who historically lived in the Florida Panhandle, and now live primarily in the U.S. state of Louisiana. Their historical territory was known to the Spanish colonists as the Apalachee Province...

, Caddo
Caddo
The Caddo Nation is a confederacy of several Southeastern Native American tribes, who traditionally inhabited much of what is now East Texas, northern Louisiana and portions of southern Arkansas and Oklahoma. Today the Caddo Nation of Oklahoma is a cohesive tribe with its capital at Binger, Oklahoma...

, Cherokee
Cherokee
The Cherokee are a Native American people historically settled in the Southeastern United States . Linguistically, they are part of the Iroquoian language family...

, Chickasaw
Chickasaw
The Chickasaw are Native American people originally from the region that would become the Southeastern United States...

, Choctaw
Choctaw
The Choctaw are a Native American people originally from the Southeastern United States...

, Creek, Guale
Guale
Guale was an historic Native American chiefdom along the coast of present-day Georgia and the Sea Islands. Spanish Florida established its Roman Catholic missionary system in the chiefdom in the late 16th century. During the late 17th century and early 18th century, Guale society was shattered...

, Hitchiti
Hitchiti
The Hitchiti were a Muskogean-speaking tribe formerly residing chiefly in a town of the same name on the east bank of the Chattahoochee River, 4 miles below Chiaha, in west Georgia. They spoke the Hitchiti language, which was mutually intelligible with Mikasuki; both tribes were part of the loose...

, Houma
Houma Tribe
The Houma people are a Native America tribe. They belong to the United Houma Nation, a state recognized tribe in Louisiana. They primarily live in East and West Feliciana, and Pointe Coupee Parishes, about 100 miles north of the town of Houma named for them, west of the mouth of the Mississippi...

, Kansa
Kaw (tribe)
The Kaw Nation are an American Indian people of the central Midwestern United States. The tribe known as Kaw have also been known as the "People of the South wind", "People of water", Kansa, Kaza, Kosa, and Kasa. Their tribal language is Kansa, classified as a Siouan language.The toponym "Kansas"...

, Missouri
Missouri tribe
The Missouria or Missouri are a Native American tribe that originated in the Great Lakes region of United States before European contact. The tribe belongs to the Chiwere division of the Siouan language family, together with the Iowa and Otoe...

, Mobilian
Mabila
The town of Mabila was a small fortress town known to Chief Tuskaloosa in 1540, in a region of present-day central Alabama. The exact location has been debated for centuries...

, Natchez
Natchez people
The Natchez are a Native American people who originally lived in the Natchez Bluffs area, near the present-day city of Natchez, Mississippi. They spoke a language isolate that has no known close relatives, although it may be very distantly related to the Muskogean languages of the Creek...

, Osage Nation
Osage Nation
The Osage Nation is a Native American Siouan-language tribe in the United States that originated in the Ohio River valley in present-day Kentucky. After years of war with invading Iroquois, the Osage migrated west of the Mississippi River to their historic lands in present-day Arkansas, Missouri,...

, Quapaw
Quapaw
The Quapaw people are a tribe of Native Americans who historically resided on the west side of the Mississippi River in what is now the state of Arkansas.They are federally recognized as the Quapaw Tribe of Indians.-Government:...

, Seminole
Seminole
The Seminole are a Native American people originally of Florida, who now reside primarily in that state and Oklahoma. The Seminole nation emerged in a process of ethnogenesis out of groups of Native Americans, most significantly Creeks from what is now Georgia and Alabama, who settled in Florida in...

, Tunica-Biloxi
Tunica-Biloxi
The modern Tunica-Biloxi tribe live in Mississippi and east central Louisiana. The modern tribe is composed of descendants of Tunica, Biloxi , Ofo , Avoyel , and Muskogean Choctaw. They speak mostly English and French...

, Yamasee
Yamasee
The Yamasee were a multiethnic confederation of Native Americans that lived in the coastal region of present-day northern coastal Georgia near the Savannah River and later in northeastern Florida.-History:...

, and Yuchi
Yuchi
For the Chinese surname 尉迟, see Yuchi.The Yuchi, also spelled Euchee and Uchee, are a Native American Indian tribe who traditionally lived in the eastern Tennessee River valley in Tennessee in the 16th century. During the 17th century, they moved south to Alabama, Georgia and South Carolina...

.

See also


External references

  • Bense, Judith A. Archaeology of the Southeastern United States: Paleoindian to World War I. Academic Press, New York, 1994. ISBN 0-12-089060-7.
  • Cheryl Anne Cox; and David H. Dye, eds; Towns and Temples along the Mississippi University of Alabama Press 1990
  • Hudson, Charles
    Charles M. Hudson (author)
    Charles M. Hudson is the Franklin Professor of Anthropology and History Emeritus at the University of Georgia, and is one of the foremost authorities on the history and culture of the Indians of the U.S. Southeast.-Degrees:Charles Melvin Hudson Jr....

    ; The Southeastern Indians. University of Tennessee Press, Knoxville, 1976. ISBN 0-87049-248-9.
  • O'Conner, Mallory McCane. Lost Cities of the Ancient Southeast. University Press of Florida, Florida A & M University, Gainesville, Fla., 1995. ISBN 0-8130-1350-X.
  • Pauketat, Timothy R.
    Timothy Pauketat
    Dr. Timothy R. Pauketat is an “American Bottom” Mississippian-era archaeologist and professor of Anthropology at the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana. He is best known for his investigations at and involving the World Heritage site of Cahokia Mounds near St. Louis, MO.-Academic...

    ; The Ascent of Chiefs: Cahokia and Mississippian Politics in Native North America. University of Alabama Press, 1994, ISBN 978-0817307288.
  • Pauketat, Timothy R.; “The History of the Mississippians” in North American Archaeology Blackwell Publishing Ltd., 2005.

External links

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