Chapter

Cahokian Mortuary Practices

A. Martin Byers

in Cahokia

Published by University Press of Florida

Published in print August 2006 | ISBN: 9780813029580
Published online September 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780813039183 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.5744/florida/9780813029580.003.0012
Cahokian Mortuary Practices

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This chapter uses the mortuary data of the Mississippian period of the American Bottom as evidence in support of the heterarchical polyistic locale-centric account, in general, and of the World Renewal Cult Heterarchy model, in particular. It is noted that under a hierarchical monistic modular polity system based on proprietary corporate clans, a unitary CBL system should exist, with a strong emphasis on primary burial and with variation in artifact and burial facilities correlated with the presence or absence of ranked clans and specialization. It is also clear that the nature of the clan-cult relation in a polyistic-type social system is a function of the relative degree of polluting that everyday settlement and subsistence practices are perceived to be generating. An analysis is initiated by concentrating on four American Bottom mortuary sites that have been excavated and/or analyzed using modern archaeological standards: the East St. Louis Stone Quarry site, the Kane Mounds site, the Wilson Mound, and Mound 72. The Wilson Mound is interpreted by George Milner as an elite cemetery, although a distinctly “lesser elite” cemetery.

Keywords: American Bottom; world renewal ritual; World Renewal Cult Heterarchy model; mortuary; East St. Louis Stone Quarry site; Kane Mounds site; Wilson Mound; Mound 72

Chapter.  11491 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Prehistoric Archaeology

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