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Title:The John Chapman site and creolization on the northern frontier of the Mississippian world
Author(s):Millhouse, Philip
Director of Research:Pauketat, Timothy R.
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Pauketat, Timothy R.
Doctoral Committee Member(s):Emerson, Thomas E.; Fennell, Christopher C.; Lucero, Lisa J.
Department / Program:Anthropology
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Apple River
identity creation
material culture
Abstract:This work explores how people forge cultural identities through the active process of creolization along fluid frontiers of cultural interaction. The creolization process is addressed through an analysis of select materials from the John Chapman (11JD12) site in northwestern Illinois. Here a small contingent of Mississippian people appears to have migrated to live among a local population of Terminal Late Woodland people. As these two groups created new settlements, they constructed a unique identity through the shared participation in the daily activities of village life. The work presented here moves beyond core-periphery models that reduce frontier people to being passive reactors to forces emanating from a cultural heartland. In these scenarios, people along the frontier are a watered down and diluted reflection of a pure culture practiced at the core. This thesis sees the people living along the northern Mississippian frontier as fully participating in the creation of their own unique identity and historic trajectory. By examining frontier people through this lens it is possible to illuminate the importance of their contributions to historical developments throughout the wider Mississippian. This study uses material remains and regional comparisons to argue that during the Bennett phase (A.D. 1100-1250) people at the John Chapman site reconfigured their community and daily life to emulate some aspects of Mississippian life ways while also drawing deeply on local Woodland traditions. During this process of creolization, people ultimately created a new cultural identity that would come to be recognized as part of the Oneota tradition. This new tradition was neither Mississippian or Woodland, but a distinct and identifiable set of regional cultures. These Oneota cultures successfully expanded and came to dominate much of the upper Midwest in the centuries to follow. The work presented here contributes to the wider field of anthropology by explaining how the humble debris from daily life can inform us on significant and dynamic cultural processes. Through examination of mundane debris, it is easier to comprehend how large-scale cultural changes were being played out at the village and personal level. Comprehending change at these levels allows a much better understanding of how people successfully negotiated times of dynamic cultural change.
Issue Date:2012-05-22
Rights Information:Copyright 2012 Philip G. Millhouse
Date Available in IDEALS:2012-05-22
Date Deposited:2012-05

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