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Medieval Mississippians

The Cahokian World

Edited by Timothy R. Pauketat and Susan M. Alt

Medieval Mississippians2015. 168 pp., color plates, figures, maps, suggested reading, index, 8.5 x 112015. 168 pp., color plates, figures, maps, suggested reading, index, 8.5 x 11

Medieval Mississippians, the eighth volume in the award-winning Popular Archaeology Series, introduces a key historical period in pre-Columbian eastern North America—the “Mississippian” era—via a series of colorful chapters on places, practices, and peoples written from Native American and non-Native perspectives on the past. The volume lays out the basic contours of the early centuries of this era (AD 1000–1300) in the Mississippian heartland, making connections to later centuries and contemporary peoples. Cahokia the place and Cahokian social history undergird the book, but Mississippian material culture, landscapes, and descendants are highlighted, presenting a balanced view of the Mississippian world.

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Contributors: Susan M. Alt, Sarah E. Baires, Danielle M. Benden, Robert F. Boszhardt, Charles R. Cobb, Robert Cook, Marisa Miakonda Cummings, Thomas E. Emerson, Michael G. Farkas, Megan C. Kassabaum, Adam King, Brad H. Koldehoff, Fred Limp, John W. O'Hear, Timothy R. Pauketat, Angie Payne, Staffan Peterson, Donna J. Rausch, William F. Romain, Vincas P. Steponaitis, Amber M. VanDerwarker, Gregory D. Wilson, Snow Winters, Thomas J. Zych

View the Table of Contents

Download an excerpt (PDF, 624 KB).

Read Reviews

  • “Pauketat and Alt have done an impressive job of bringing twenty-eight archaeologists and Native Americans together to produce seventeen essays about the complex Mississippian culture, its many settlements, and how they related to each other and the ancient urban center of Cahokia, the largest prehistoric community in America, but still followed their own regional trajectories. The narratives are presented in a manner easily understood by the general reader but they are also of value to archaeologists and others fascinated with prehistory and culture. With each chapter, one learns more about the Mississippian world—its people, places, beliefs, and material culture—as it rose, flourished, and diminished. The numerous illustrations reveal the accomplishments of this ancient cultural tradition, how its world was organized, and the skill of its artisans.”
    William R. Iseminger, Cahokia Mounds State Historic Site
  • “This book elevates the Mississippians to a rightful place among the world’s greatest civilizations. Accessible and engaging, Medieval Mississippians brings to life the towns, mounds, temples, and technologies and of an astonishing culture that spanned the eastern United States eight hundred years ago. Even better, editors Pauketat and Alt crafted this work to reveal the breadth and range of Mississippian life, to explain how archaeologists work, and to remind readers that the Mississippians, far from being a lost people, have thousands of descendants living and working (including at archaeology) in the Mississippi Valley today. ”
    April K. Sievert, Indiana University
  • “The book is packed with cultural and historical information about the spiritual beliefs, residential patterns, diets, ceremonial events and even games of the mysterious Mississippians. It is essential reading for those interested in the Cahokian world in particular, but also for archaeological enthusiasts in general. . . . As I think about the essays, written by experts in various fields of study, I keep picturing them as the basis for science fair projects or teaching guides. Most can be adapted for various levels of reader sophistication, from the most basic to fairly knowledgeable. The book serves the vital purpose of making science not only educational, but accessible and even entertaining.”
    Susan Caba, freelance journalist, MCJA Book Reviews 42, 2017

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