cover of book

Ancient Chiefdoms of the Tombigbee
by John H. Blitz
University of Alabama Press, 1993
Paper: 978-0-8173-0672-4 | eISBN: 978-0-8173-8308-4
Library of Congress Classification E99.M6815B55 1993
Dewey Decimal Classification 976.12


A Dan Josselyn Memorial Publication

Within the last 50 years archaeologists have discovered that around the 10th century A.D., native southeastern peoples began a process of cultural change far more complex than anything that had occurred previously. These late prehistoric societies—known as Mississippian—have come to be regarded as chiefdoms. The chiefdoms are of great anthropological interest because in these kinds of societies social hierarchies or rank and status were first institutionalized.

Ancient Chiefdoms of the Tombigbee focuses on both the small- and large-scale Mississippian societies in the Tombigbee-Black Warrior River region of Alabama and Mississippi. Exploring the relationships involving polity size, degree of social ranking, and resource control provides insights into cycles of chiefdom development and fragmentation. Blitz concludes that the sanctified, security maintenance roles of communal food storage management and war leadership were a sufficient basis for formal chiefly authority but insufficient for economically based social stratification.

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