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The Mississippi River - Essay Example

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The Mississippi River The Mississippi river is the largest river system in North America flowing through states of Minnesota, Wisconsin, Iowa, Illinois, Missouri, Kentucky, Tennessee, Arkansas, Mississippi, and Louisiana. The book Exploring Ancient Native America an Archaeological Guide by David Hurst Thomas narrates vividly about native Indian tribes (Mississippians) that existed on the bank of Mississippi river between 750 and 1500 AD or after…
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Download file to see previous pages Archaeologists use the term Mississippian to refer to the number of native Indian tribes that existed between about 750 and 1500 AD (or after) all over the Mississippi, Tennessee, and Cumberland River valleys. The Mississippian existence can be identified with a number of common characteristic traits: potteries generally ‘tempered’ with compressed ‘mussel shell’, rural-based maize cultivation, big ‘flat topped’ mounts placed in the vicinity of the town marketplace are all common features of Mississippians (Thomas, 1999, p. 151). Over the last few centuries, extensive archaeological works have been done in this region to know more about the Mississippian people. Their progress from dependence on forests to adoption of maize as a chief source of food is now linked up. Also, comparative studies between different regions forming the Mississippi, Tennessee, and Cumberland River valleys show that a common history united them and there were exchanges of goods and art items between them. Bow and arrow were used by Mississippians. They related their agricultural vocation with religion. Mississippians worshipped a deity resembling fire-sun and travelled extensively. During the time when Mississippian tribes thrived, they use to organize large ceremonies in sites now called Cahokia, Moundville, Spiro, and Etowah. The Mississippian aristocracy was powerful with holdings of hundreds of small farmers who used to live in smaller fenced colonies and farms. A large part of eastern North America did not adopt the Mississippian culture. However, economies of all were relied on some degree to the Mississippian economy. Offspring of the great American Indian Confederacies of the American southland together with so-called Five Civilized Tribes are profoundly linked with their Mississippian heritage (Thomas, 1999, pp. 151). Cahokia is often called by the archaeologists as Mississippi City of the sun. Cahokia is one of the most important sites for archaeologists to understand the civilization of early Mississippians. Cahokia was the biggest city in the native North America. Situated on the extensive tidal plain that links the Mississippi river and the Missouri river, Cahokia possessed fertile soil and abundant wildlife. Around 700 AD, efficient villages were set up by late Woodlanders who depended on forests and also grew few farm products, including little maize. Cahokia was purposely situated near the main farmland belt, linked to the land and water routes and connecting the city to both nearby and faraway communities (Thomas, 1999, pp. 152, 154). According to Thomas, the more broad-based Mississippian culture evolved later, around 850 and 900 AD. Despite the fact that sedentary lifestyle of Mississippians varied distinctly from the forest-based Woodland community, it is believed that there was probably a genetic link between the two. Between 800 and 1100 AD, Mississippian people explored beyond customary Woodland-style farming of native plants to opt for import of Mexican maize. Maize has been cultivated intensively throughout eastern North America long before, which was perhaps the reason for emergence of its more multifarious sociopolitical arrangement. Finally, the maize cultivation would be the backbone for the emerging Iroquoian federation of the Northeast, the Fort Ancient confederation beside the middle Ohio ...Download file to see next pages Read More
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