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MISSISSIPPIAN CONFERENCE, July 20, 2013—Crisp Museum
8:00-8:40 REGISTRATION ($5.00)
Noon to 1:30 Lunch on your own - Information on local eateries available at registration
PRESENTATION SCHEDULE (15-minutes each)
8:45 Domestic Architecture at the Eaker Site, Mississippi County, Arkansas Claudine Payne, Arkansas Archeological Survey
Excavations and geophysical investigations in recent years have given us a glimpse into the nature of domestic architecture at the Eaker site. Situated on the south bank of Pemiscot Bayou, a major waterway in the St. Francis Basin, the Eaker site is primarily a Middle-period Mississippian site, occupied mainly between about AD 1250 and 1450. Geophysical investigations have identified dozens of likely houses while excavation has revealed the foundations and construction details of four structures.
9:00 Mississippian Society in Eastern Missouri, Joe Harl, Archaeological Research Center of St. Louis, Inc.
While the presence of mounds, plazas, effigy vessels, and a variety of exotic trade goods have been used to identify sites dating to the Mississippian Period, sites in eastern Missouri suggest that these traits were more common at the large trade and civic/ceremonial centers. Farming villages and isolated farmsteads continued to use conical shaped, partially cord marked pottery vessels, had residences widely spaced, and used Scallorn or flake points. However, it is suggested that these traits do not reflect a conservative lifestyle maintaining a Late Woodland type of existence and rejection of Mississippian culture. Instead, these represent farmers making practical decisions concerning their daily lives, but who took part in the wider Mississippian economic system.
9:15 Solar Eclipses: Events Marking the Shifting Center of the Mississippian Landscape, Rusty Weisman, Missouri Department of Transportation
Solar eclipses are dramatic, widely observable, recurring celestial events for which the precise date and time of occurrence are known for every site and location. Despite the potential for eclipse events to have influenced prehistoric beliefs and behavior, and their utility as temporal markers, solar eclipses have received surprisingly little attention from American archaeologists. During the Mississippian Period, several hundred solar eclipses were visible from different parts of the Mississippian landscape. While most of those were minor partial eclipses, Mississippians also witnessed a significant number of total and annular eclipse events and large magnitude partial eclipses. Several of the most prominent total and annual eclipses are reviewed, including those observable on December 3, 1062, October 4, 1111, August 13, 1151, September 14, 1205 and March 1, 1234. The number, magnitude and duration of solar eclipse events observable in the Mississippian landscape varied appreciably depending on viewing location. Although total and annular solar eclipses are rare, with an average rate of reoccurrence at any site of 140 years, a review of the large magnitude eclipses observable from different Mississippian sites demonstrates that some sites witnessed more frequent, longer and greater magnitude events. The correlation between site location and major solar eclipse events is examined in relation to periods of site occupation and abandonment. It is hypothesized that Mississippians identified and preferentially occupied ‘central’ locations, which were defined by the paths of total and annular eclipses and that those celestial events demonstrated the primacy of particular places at particular times and affirmed beliefs about the favorability of central locations within the landscape and cosmos. The concept of centrality as marked by solar eclipses appears to be widely expressed in Mississippian iconography. Examples represented in engraved shell, negative painted ceramics and rock art are briefly discussed and their interpretations reconsidered.
9:30 Shell Cup Effigies from Illinois Sites, Laura Kozuch, Illinois State Archaeological Survey, University of Illinois
Shell cup effigy vessels are sometimes found at Illinois and sites throughout the Southeast. In this paper I present their geographic and temporal distributions in Illinois. Based on vessel decorations, I believe they are meant to imitate lightning whelk shell cups which have a distinctive spiral. They are used in place of lightning whelk cups. Based on the higher frequencies of shell cups and shell cup effigy vessels in the Late Mississippian, I further suggest an increased need for purification and warfare rituals during that time period.
9:45 Excavations at the Manley-Usrey site (3MS106) A middle-late Mississippian site near Blytheville, AR, Michelle M Rathgaber, Arkansas Archeological Survey – Blytheville Station
The Blytheville Station of the Arkansas Archeological Survey undertook test excavations at 3MS106 in the spring of 2012 and 2013 in order to learn more about the Mississippian site across the Bayou from Eaker (3MS105, which was excavated as part of the Arkansas Archeological Society’s Annual Summer Dig in 2004, 2005, and 2006). We hoped to see if the occupation of 3MS106 was concurrent with that of 3MS105 or if the sites were occupied at different time periods. We also wanted to see the size/occupation density of the site as well as test whether any part of the site was covered by “sand blows”. Sand blows are earthquake effects in which sand comes up through a crack in the ground’s surface in a liquid state and covers the ground. This sand can be found in various thicknesses and it was our hope that it would be thick enough at this site to have protected the Mississippian site surface from years of plowing. Our shovel tests showed that the site is larger than we originally suspected and our second excavation unit showed that part of the site is indeed covered by a sand blow and the sand blow has preserved the occupation surface from plow activity. Future work at this site should allow for an excellent look at a partially undisturbed Mississippian site in the Arkansas Delta area.
10:00 Fortifications at Parkin Phase Sites in Northeast Arkansas, Jeffrey M. Mitchem, Arkansas Archaeology Survey
Excavations and geophysical investigations carried out since the 1990s have revealed evidence of fortifications, including defensive ditches and log palisades, surrounding late Mississippian (Parkin phase) village sites in the St. Francis and Tyronza River valleys in northeast Arkansas. The best evidence is at the Parkin (3CS29) and Neeley’s Ferry (3CS24) sites. The presence of these extensive defensive measures adds credence to the claims by chroniclers of the Hernando de Soto expedition that the residents of the region were at war in 1541.
10:15 REFRESHMENT BREAK
10:30 Birth of the Ozarks, Dr. Freda Cruse Hardison, unaffiliated
Ethnographies and historians recognize that the Ozarks has the highest concentration of Anglo British descendants anywhere in the world outside of Great Britain (Brooks Blevins MSU) however there has been little work done to investigate the reasons behind this fact. The Birth of the Ozarks is based in a genealogical historical study of the first families of the Ozarks, those who were documented here in 1819 by Schoolcraft, as well as the Talburt family, Washington Irving (1824) as well as the families who moved here prior to 1830 and the resulting forced relocation of Native Americans on the Trail of Tears.
When examining the dance, speech and way we live our lives it is clear that the relationship between the Native Americans under Chief John Watts (aka John Bowles, asks Duwali) and the Shawnee he invited here under Chief John Lewis and his wife Mary Succapanos after the destruction of Lewistown Ohio to help stay off the Osage, did not leave as history tells us, but rather chose to assimilate among the whites, taking white names and intermarrying with the whites, developing a culture that is as unique as the Creole of New Orleans, the Indians of Sapalo Island, GA. Due to the fact that in Arkansas it was illegal for Native Americans to acknowledge their heritage and own land, people blended, and did not discuss being Indian or British. After the American Revolution and the War of 1812 it was not popular to be either British or Indian. The people that moved here to the Ozarks had to know who was off, why you were here and who your people were.
10:45 Finding More Mounds at Kincaid, Brian Butler, SIU Carbondale
The University of Chicago archaeologists readily identified the larger and better-preserved mounds at Kincaid, but we have long recognized that other mounds exist there that are either too plowed down or otherwise damaged to be readily discernable. The ongoing work at Kincaid has confirmed several previously unidentified mounds in the Massac County portion of the site and we can now add one in the Pope County portion. In 2011, grading to clean up a portion of the Lakefront road reportedly exposed a burned floor. Investigation showed that a recut ditch had indeed profiled a clay floor of substantial size. This clay floor coincides with the location of a topographic feature which we can now confidently identify as the remnants of a low platform mound.
11:00 Untangling the Piasa's tale: Implications of a revised interpretation for midcontinental iconographies, Duane Esarey, Vin Steponaitis
Lost accounts and sometimes contradictory details have made painted images on the rock bluff at Alton, Illinois an enduring source of mystery. Jolliet’s original 1673 drawings were supposedly lost, the paintings disappeared before authoritative renderings could be captured, and supposed local ethnographic accounts were confused. Our recent paper verifies the pedigree of an extant contemporary drawing of the famous painting and uses a Peoria culture-hero account to decode the hidden meaning of the Piasa. Introduction of another supernatural and resolution of 19th century traditions and Native accounts holds implications for employment of Piasa-related imagery in Mississippian and earlier iconography.
11:15 East Palisade Excavations at Cahokia Mounds, Angela Cooper MA
During June 2013, volunteers excavated a portion of the East Palisade site. The excavation units were located south of the Summer 2012 excavations of the site. This was to determine the locations of the different phases of the palisade wall, to determine whether certain phases of the palisade wall turned further north of Monks Mound, and to understand the purpose of Feature X better. These excavations will provide insight into lives of the Mississippian people who lived at Cahokia Mounds."
11:30 Excavations at Kincaid, 2013, Paul Welch, SIU
Excavations at Kincaid in 2013 focused on two goals. The first goal was to define the horizontal extent of a low artificial platform, named the Douglas Mound. The second goal was to further explore a large burned building in the plaza at Kincaid. As we reported last summer, this building appears to lack walls on the north and south sides, and was built atop a layer of fill. Work this summer focused on finding the east and west extent of the building as well as exploring the extent of the fill layer.
11:45 Beaker Bonanza: A Preliminary Analysis of Ceramic Beakers from the East Saint Louis Mound Complex, Ross Brady, Brent Lansdell, Illinois State Archaeological Survey
A variety of fineware ceramic vessels are associated with elite and ritual context in and around the American Bottom. One common example is the beaker, a typically cylindrical form that is highly burnished or slipped and usually decorated with incising or engraving. Recent residue analysis of beakers identifies traces of a plant used to make the highly caffeinated “Black Drink,” providing evidence of the beaker’s role in ritual contexts. The excavation of portions of the East St. Louis Mound Complex for the new Mississippi River Bridge project has recovered nearly 200 beakers from a variety of features. This paper presents preliminary analysis of these and discusses their significance in relation to the consumption of “Black Drink.”
12:00 LUNCH--on your own
1:30 Top Knots and Forelocks: Mississippian Hairstyles as Depicted in Ceramic Form Sarah Harken, Aurora Bihler, and Tamira Brennan Christensen Illinois State Archaeological Survey
During excavations at the Mississippian period East Saint Louis Mound Complex (11S706) in the American Bottom of Southern Illinois, many human effigies were recovered in the form of hooded water bottles and ceramic figurines. We will discuss the distinct hairstyles depicted on these vessels and objects. In particular, we will identify differences between male and female hairstyles and the frequency of specific styles. These will be compared to a larger body of human depictions from contemporary sites and experimentally reproduced on living models.
1:45 Gendered Buildings in the Mississippian World, Jennifer Bengtson and Dakota Price, Southeast Missouri State University
Social and ideological practice takes place within, influences, and is influenced by various kinds of archaeologically identifiable spaces and places. Some research has been specifically concerned with gendered divisions of space through the identification of gendered buildings (i.e. “Men’s Houses” and “Women’s Houses” )in the archaeological record. In this paper, we provide a preliminary synthesis of the literature regarding gendered buildings in the Mississippian world. Furthermore, we revisit the ‘Women’s House’ identified by Duncan Wilkie at the Hunze-Evans Site (23CG8) within this larger comparative context. We conclude with a consideration of the ways that spatially/materially explicit gender divisions in the construction and use of buildings contribute to social integration within Mississippian communities.
2:00 The Osages: Children of the Middle Waters, Andrea A. Hunter, James Munkres, and Barker Fariss, Osage Nation
Dr. Hunter will discuss the significance of water in Osage culture and Osage identity. Throughout history, water has influenced Osage spirituality, social structure, migrations across the landscape, and where we have placed our villages and camps. The goal of the presentation is to provide insight from what we have gathered from oral history accounts from our Osage elders in the late 19th and early 20 centuries, recent archaeological research, linguistic analysis, and the work of early historians regarding Osage worldview.
2:15 Reveaing Cahokia’s Religion, Year 2: Preliminary results from summer 2013 at Emerald, Jeff Kruchten, Susan Alt, Tim Pauketat
The joint Indiana University and University of Illinois “Emerald Archaeological Project” focused excavations at the Emerald Mound site, an early mound center in the uplands east of the American Bottom, exploring the role of religion in the founding of Cahokia. Extensive excavations in 2012 revealed the presence of public and elite architecture alongside temporary houses. These buildings, along with the mounds and a roadway that runs through the site, suggests that Emerald may have been lunar shrine along a pilgrimage circuit that brought diverse peoples from across the Midwest to the American Bottom. An Indiana University field school returned in 2013 to continue these efforts, excavating on the eastern side of the Great Mound locating a plaza, large rotundas and other monumental architecture, all adjacent to an ancient roadway. We also present evidence of the discovery of a long lost mound.
2:30 Recent Archaeological Research in Cahokia’s West Plaza: Preliminary Results of the 2013 fieldwork season, Marco Valeri, Imma Valese, Melissa Mattioli, Davide Domenici and John Kelly
The third fieldwork season the archaeological project jointly organized by the University of Bologna (Italy) and the Washington University, St Louis (MO, USA) was recently carried out in the Merrell Tract, in Cahokia's West Plaza. The project is aimed at understanding the occupational dynamics of the area and, more specifically, at clarifying a complex sequence of architectural compounds first revealed by W. Wittry in the 1960’s. The 2013 fieldwork season concentrated on two adjacent areas: in one of them a complex superposition of houses and associated features was brought to light, while in the second the western wall of a Stirling phase bastioned compound was detected.
2:45 REFRESHMENT BREAK
3:00 America’s First Urban Centers: A 21st Century Effort of Preservation, John E. Kelly, Washington University
For the last two years efforts have been underway by Heartland Conservancy to engage the public, the professional community, native peoples, and politicians in an effort that will result in the preservation of other important ancient Native communities especially the large towns such as East St. Louis and Pulcher that surround the incipient urban center of Cahokia. This presentation summarizes the earlier efforts and the current and unique efforts that will result in not only a national designation but also the actual purchase and preservation of the major Mississippian sites of the greater St. Louis region.
3:15 Anthropogenic Influence of Canebrake Formation in Southeastern Missouri Lowlands, By Bob Gillespie, Ross Glenn, Frank Nelson, Mark Pelton, A. J. Hendershott, Missouri Department of Conservation
River cane (Arundinaria gigantea) once formed dense canebrakes in the Southeastern United States. Their formation, size and management were influenced by mound building Native Americans who utilized the cane for a substantial variety of products, food and services. Cultural dependence on cane led the mound building people to tend the plant near villages and agricultural fields. In Missouri we tested the idea that canebrake formation was closely associated with Native American villages. When Native American cultures abandoned their sites and were unable to tend their fields canebrakes erupted. In the lowlands of southeast Missouri, cane was more common and robust in areas associated with Native American activity. Part of that robustness can be attributed to historic cane management through harvest and fire. Modern day land managers need to consider disturbance regimes that mimic these factors for established cane patches or canebrakes.
3:30 Mississippian Occupations of the Western Lowlands of Arkansas, circa A.D. 800-1300,Juliet E. Morrow, Patti Wright, Robert A. Taylor, and Robert Scott
We present our interpretations of ceramic and lithic technologies and plant and animal use among different societies who lived in year round villages in the Western Lowlands of northeastern Arkansas. Three villages are on the Cache River: Bruce Catt (3CY91), Buffalo Head Slough (3GE6), and Kreb’s Place (3CG453), and one village is at the headwaters of Village Creek: the Jarrett site (3RA95). Multiple ethnic groups living in the Western Lowlands during the early Mississippian period (A.D. 800-900) appear to have been influenced by expansion of people from southeast Missouri based on the presence of Varney (red filmed) pottery. The distribution of this early, red-filmed, shell-tempered pottery occurs primarily throughout the Mississippi River corridor, and the Western Lowlands lie at the western fringe of the Varney “heartland.” A site-unit intrusion from Cahokia which occurred around A.D. 1100, the Cherry Valley phase (Perino 1959, Morse and Morse 1983), seems to have little influenced societies in the Western Lowlands; however, a slightly later site-unit intrusion from southeast Missouri related to the Powers Phase (Price 1978) is evident at the Jarrett site (3RA95) around A.D. 1250-1300. Much of the Western Lowlands is suddenly abandoned around A.D. 1350. Possibilities for this abandonment are discussed.
3:45 A Preliminary Report on Archaeogeophysical Investigations at Sugarloaf Mound, Barker Fariss, Andrea A. Hunter, and James Munkres, Osage Nation
Sugarloaf Mound is the last remaining Mississippian platform mound of the prehistoric municipality often referred to as “Mound City,” located in the area now known as St. Louis. Sugarloaf Mound is included on the National Register of Historic Places. The property was purchased by the Osage Nation in 2009 with the intention of preservation, research, and public education. Earlier this year the Osage Nation Historic Preservation Office (ONHPO) conducted a Ground Penetrating Radar (GPR) survey of the mound. The study measures subsurface anomalies associated with the presence or absence of buried materials potentially related to the existence of archaeological features.
POSTER PRESENTATIONS in Crisp Museum Lobby
Previously Unidentified Design Motifs on Ramey Incised Pottery From the East St. Louis Mound Complex, Heather Nahmias Alexandra Freyer, and Dr. Alleen Betzenhauser POSTER
Recent Excavations at the East St. Louis Mound Complex by the Illinois State Archaeological Survey have identified large elite residential areas associated with the Mississippian Stirling Phase (A.D. 1100-1200) occupation. A considerable amount of ceramic material has been recovered, including segments of over 6,000 ceramic vessels recorded to date. A significant portion of these vessels are Ramey Incised jars characterized by their angled shoulders, polished surfaces, and trailed decorations. These jars were produced locally in the American Bottom and likely conveyed a multitude of meanings through their intricate design motifs and used during feasting and redistributive events. In this poster, we identify new design motifs and investigate their possible meanings.
Materials from Far Lands: Exotic raw materials and projectile points at site 11s706, Thomas Collins, Melissa Metzger, and Justin Wallace, Illinois State Archaeological Survey POSTER
Current analysis of the lithic assemblage from the East St. Louis Mound Complex, specifically site 11S706, has yielded a variety of exotic non-local raw materials and projectile point types. Determining the origin of the raw materials and projectile point styles can help infer possible trade networks occurring between the people of Cahokia and the rest of prehistoric North America. Understanding the geological properties of the raw materials can also help determine differences between local and non-local raw materials. This poster explores the relationship between the people of Cahokia and the transference of not only physical goods, but of ideas.