Southern Cult

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A recurrent series of motifs, designs, and artefacts, often death‐related, which suggests shared beliefs or understandings among a variety of Mississippian cultures in the southeastern part of North America in the 13th century ad. The motifs include crosses, the feathered serpent, ‘sun circles’, swastikas, and skull and long‐bone and eye‐and‐hand symbols. Traditionally, the repertoire is believed to owe something to Mesoamerican influences, but local origins are now regarded as more likely. The chiefly elites appear to have been the main participants in the cult, and whatever ceremonies and activities were involved they are likely to have been orientated to supporting the power and authority of these individuals.

Subjects: Archaeology.

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