By Timothy R. Pauketat
This publication sweeps away the final vestiges of social-evolutionary motives of 'chiefdoms' through rethinking the background of Pre-Columbian Southeast peoples and evaluating them to historical peoples within the Southwest, Mexico, Mesoamerica, and Mesopotamia.
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Additional info for Chiefdoms and Other Archaeological Delusions (Issues in Eastern Woodlands Archaeology)
But we should give Mississippian temple and mound histories some additional thought. How far back can we project the temple-related institutions? Were Mississippian temple practices politicized versions of pre-Mississippian ones? And how many of the people somehow affiliated with a temple had the same understanding of what the temple and mound represented? Whose bones were kept in a particular temple? Whose were excluded? Who labored on a particular pyramid, when, and why? Did they do it to build an impressive platform for a specific functional reason?
Sure, she muses, that’s it. After all, according to Elizabeth Garland (1992), Obion’s early Mississippian platform mound was pretty impressive, meaning that considerable labor went into it. Certainly other early political behemoths seem to have started out this way (Blanton et al. 1996; Cherry 1978; Collins and Chalfant 1993; Earle 1997:179; Holley 1999:37; Paynter and McGuire 1991; Joyce 2004; Pauketat 2000a; Trigger 1990). Take 29 CHAPTER ONE Teotihuaca,n, for example, or Wal-Mart even (but probably not the WalMart at Teotihuaca,n).
How could there have been sedentary peoples unaffected by cultural contacts with others? The idea would not die among Mississippianists, even as they managed to reconcile the search for the pristine with the goals of world systems–inspired archaeology. They did this, perhaps unknown even to most of them, by asserting that the entire Mississippian Southeast was a pristine development isolated from the rest of the world. Even today, most agree with Bruce Smith’s (1990:1) view of the whole: “contrary to still popular diffusionist ‘south-of-the-border story’ scenarios, the Mississippian emergence of AD 750–1050 was an independent pristine process of social transformation, uninfluenced by Mesoamerican state-level societies” (a view recently echoed by Brown 2005b:113).
Chiefdoms and Other Archaeological Delusions (Issues in Eastern Woodlands Archaeology) by Timothy R. Pauketat