Mississippian Plazas, Performances, and Portable Histories

Mississippian Plazas, Performances, and Portable Histories Although plazas have a lengthy and variable history in southeastern North America, by the Mississippian period (ca. 1000–1500 CE), they had assumed some degree of conformity: they were square to rectangular in shape, anchored the approximate center of a settlement, often had additional inclusions such as public buildings or earthen monuments, and were the arenas of secular and religious public activities. We suggest that the importance of these architectural features to Mississippian life ways can be attributed to two characteristics that are widely shared with other cultures that also employed plazas as a form of axis mundi. First, their construction represents an event that arrests temporality and draws attention to their pivotal role in synchronizing ritual life. Second, their relatively open architecture confers them a relational flexibility that allows for the linkage of a wide variety of spaces, things, and beings. A quantitative and qualitative study of 35 Mississippian plazas demonstrates discrepancies from a linear relationship between plaza size and site size that may be related to variation in the kinds of performances that were conducted in these public places at different types of settlements. Despite this variation, the ubiquity of plazas suggests that they were pivotal to the founding of Mississippian places, and may have been important for reestablishing a sense of cosmological order for migrating communities. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Journal of Archaeological Method and Theory Springer Journals

Mississippian Plazas, Performances, and Portable Histories

Loading next page...
 
/lp/springer_journal/mississippian-plazas-performances-and-portable-histories-q4I0NGoGak
Publisher
Springer US
Copyright
Copyright © 2016 by Springer Science+Business Media New York
Subject
Social Sciences; Archaeology; Anthropology
ISSN
1072-5369
eISSN
1573-7764
D.O.I.
10.1007/s10816-016-9281-3
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Although plazas have a lengthy and variable history in southeastern North America, by the Mississippian period (ca. 1000–1500 CE), they had assumed some degree of conformity: they were square to rectangular in shape, anchored the approximate center of a settlement, often had additional inclusions such as public buildings or earthen monuments, and were the arenas of secular and religious public activities. We suggest that the importance of these architectural features to Mississippian life ways can be attributed to two characteristics that are widely shared with other cultures that also employed plazas as a form of axis mundi. First, their construction represents an event that arrests temporality and draws attention to their pivotal role in synchronizing ritual life. Second, their relatively open architecture confers them a relational flexibility that allows for the linkage of a wide variety of spaces, things, and beings. A quantitative and qualitative study of 35 Mississippian plazas demonstrates discrepancies from a linear relationship between plaza size and site size that may be related to variation in the kinds of performances that were conducted in these public places at different types of settlements. Despite this variation, the ubiquity of plazas suggests that they were pivotal to the founding of Mississippian places, and may have been important for reestablishing a sense of cosmological order for migrating communities.

Journal

Journal of Archaeological Method and TheorySpringer Journals

Published: Mar 8, 2016

References

You’re reading a free preview. Subscribe to read the entire article.


DeepDyve is your
personal research library

It’s your single place to instantly
discover and read the research
that matters to you.

Enjoy affordable access to
over 18 million articles from more than
15,000 peer-reviewed journals.

All for just $49/month

Explore the DeepDyve Library

Search

Query the DeepDyve database, plus search all of PubMed and Google Scholar seamlessly

Organize

Save any article or search result from DeepDyve, PubMed, and Google Scholar... all in one place.

Access

Get unlimited, online access to over 18 million full-text articles from more than 15,000 scientific journals.

Your journals are on DeepDyve

Read from thousands of the leading scholarly journals from SpringerNature, Elsevier, Wiley-Blackwell, Oxford University Press and more.

All the latest content is available, no embargo periods.

See the journals in your area

DeepDyve

Freelancer

DeepDyve

Pro

Price

FREE

$49/month
$360/year

Save searches from
Google Scholar,
PubMed

Create lists to
organize your research

Export lists, citations

Read DeepDyve articles

Abstract access only

Unlimited access to over
18 million full-text articles

Print

20 pages / month

PDF Discount

20% off