Middle Missouri Tradition

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Village‐based farming communities living in the Missouri River drainage, especially in the states of North and South Dakota, in the period c.ad 1000–1500. The subsistence base relied on a special strain of cold‐resisting quick‐maturing maize, although some hunting and gathering was also practised. Dwellings were square or rectangular in plan, often semi‐subterranean, arranged in enclosed villages of between six and twenty houses, set on promontories overlooking a river. These were defensive positions and conflict and warfare seems to have been common. There is skeletal evidence of massacres and scalping. Pottery includes a distinctive grit‐tempered ware, often in globular or wide‐mouthed forms. Woodland and Mississippian influences are evident in the pottery assemblages. The Middle Missouri Tradition disappeared after about ad 1500 but historic tribes such as the Mandan, Arikara, and Hidatsa are thought to be their descendants.

Subjects: Archaeology.

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