North America

Vernon James Knight

in The Oxford Handbook of the Archaeology of Ritual and Religion

Published in print October 2011 | ISBN: 9780199232444
Published online September 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks in Archaeology

 North America

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The Eastern Woodlands of North America is among the best-documented archaeological regions of the world. Here, Native American cultural chronology is traced from the terminal Pleistocene to the present, and there is a relatively abundant and continuous archaeological record of indigenous ritual and religion across this span. This article begins with a discussion of the five stages of Eastern Woodlands chronology that emphasize changes in subsistence and settlement characteristics. It then covers ritual traditions, ritual use of exaggerated weapons, earthen mound-building, ancestor shrines, tobacco use, and iconography.

Keywords: Native American culture; subsistence; settlements; rituals; earthen mound-building; ancestor shrines; tobacco use; iconography

Article.  6590 words. 

Subjects: Archaeology ; Archaeology of North America

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