Prehistoric Indians

Essay by CalebCA+, October 1996

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A large change in prehistoric Indian culture started to take place just before

1000 A.D. By this time people had lived in the Middle Southeast for over

10,000 years since the first groups of hunters came into this region in persuit

of the bigger animals such as mastadon and bison. Over the years, aboriginal

culture went through many different transitions as the influence from other

areas intensified. The last major wave of such influence just before the

European exploration mad the height of cultural development in the

aboriginal Southeast. The outcome of this transformation is called the

Mississippian culture. This way of life produced such

enormouse and impressive civic-ceremonial sites as Moundville which is

right here in Alabama. In extent of influence, ceremonialism, technology,

architecture, population density,

and the overall richness, the Mississippian development was unmatched in

prehistoric North America.

The Mississippian culture is marked by the appearance of different and

distinctive forms of pottery containing crushed shells in the clay and by the

construction, on and around a kind of central plaza, of large pyramids made

of earth which served as platforms for temples, houses of the higher class or

leaders, and council buldings.

Other important Missippian traits included the

use of the bow, arrows tipped with the smaller triangle shaped stone points,

floodplain agriculture based upon the cultivation of several different plants

like corn, beans, and squash. Religious ceremonialism was connected with

agricultural production therefore centered around a fire-sun deity, long-

distance trade, increased territoriality and warfare, and the emergence of

highly organized chiefdoms.

The major development of the Mississippian culture was in the central

Mississippi Valley where it was by the 700 A.D.. Many archaeologists

beliebe that this area was also the center of origin for the Mississippian

culture, but this has not been proved with...