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Title:Transforming material relationships: 13th century revitalization of Cahokian religious-politics
Author(s):Baltus, Melissa
Director of Research:Pauketat, Timothy R.
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Pauketat, Timothy R.
Doctoral Committee Member(s):Emerson, Thomas E.; Lucero, Lisa J.; Fennell, Christopher C.
Department / Program:Anthropology
Discipline:Anthropology
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Degree:Ph.D.
Genre:Dissertation
Subject(s):Cahokia
Middle Mississippian
Revitalization
Violence
American Bottom
Moorehead
Sand Prairie
Abstract:The rise and eventual decline of Cahokia, the largest pre-Columbian city north of Mexico, reverberated deeply within the historical trajectories of the North American mid-continent and southeast. The 11th century emergence of this multi-ethnic, multi-vocal metropolis appears to have been deeply entangled within a social-religious movement that spread rapidly throughout the region. By A.D. 1100, however, that initial movement seems to have become highly politicized. This increased politicization occurred shortly before an outbreak of violence throughout the mid-continent around A.D. 1150. The transition from the 12th to the 13th century is marked by rapid large scale changes to spaces and objects that were part of the 12th century Cahokian religious-politics. Archaeological evidence from two thirteenth century villages in the uplands outside of Cahokia, the Olin and Copper sites, supports the supposition that these changes were intentional and targeted toward highly politicized Cahokian “elite” spaces and objects. At the same time, people maintained and/or re-integrated other practices, objects, and buildings reminiscent of the early Cahokian movement, with an increased emphasis on inclusivity. These changes suggest perhaps something akin to a revitalization movement – an intentional, material push for change – led to the return of certain religious practices, and production of their related objects, to the hands of local communities. Objects and spaces typically associated with warfare or violence, specifically fortifications, compounds, and imagery of warfare, appeared in conjunction with these changes. Given the timing and location of these materials of violence, they appear to be part of the 13th century revitalization movement in the American Bottom region. iii These two upland sites, Olin and Copper, demonstrate clearly different practices and regional relationships, indicating that people living at these sites were maintaining a certain amount of autonomy while participating within this revitalized Cahokian religious sphere. This decentralization of certain practices and material objects may have occurred at the expense of disentangling the social-political-religious relationships and obligations that may have tied these local communities to each other and to Cahokia. Furthermore, the material aspects of violence that appear during the 12th century to 13th century transformation form key elements of the so-called Southeastern Ceremonial Complex (SECC) that spread throughout the greater southeast.
Issue Date:2014-05-30
URI:http://hdl.handle.net/2142/49559
Rights Information:Copyright 2014 Melissa R. Baltus
Date Available in IDEALS:2014-05-30
Date Deposited:2014-05


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