Ancient chiefdoms of the Tombigbee by John H. Blitz

By John H. Blitz

A Dan Josselyn Memorial book in the final 50 years archaeologists have came upon that round the tenth century A.D., local southeastern peoples started a means of cultural swap way more advanced than something that had happened formerly. those past due prehistoric societies—known as Mississippian—have end up considered as chiefdoms. The chiefdoms are of serious anthropological curiosity simply because in some of these societies social hierarchies or rank and standing have been first institutionalized. historical Chiefdoms of the Tombigbee makes a speciality of either the small- and large-scale Mississippian societies within the Tombigbee-Black Warrior River quarter of Alabama and Mississippi. Exploring the relationships related to polity measurement, measure of social rating, and source keep an eye on presents insights into cycles of chiefdom improvement and fragmentation. Blitz concludes that the sanctified, safeguard upkeep roles of communal nutrients garage administration and battle management have been a enough foundation for formal mainly authority yet inadequate for economically established social stratification.

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One side of the okla organization, the civil chief and council of elders, was white and associated with peace and domestic affairs. The other side was red and concerned with war and affairs external to the okla. Red leadership roles were the war chief and body of warriors. Assertion of dominant leadership vacillated between the two principal offices, the civil, or okla, chief and the war chief (Hudson 1976:234238), but consensus was the rule and the actual decision-making body was the council of elders and warriors.

Aside from the possibility that intensification began as a social strategy, corn certainly became a basic commodity that promoted the cooperation of multiple households for communal storage. Highest-ranked kin groups, such as the Natchez Suns, claimed their privileges by virtue of descent from mythical founding ancestors. Their authority was legitimized by appeals to the sacred, expressed through genealogical claims, and exercised by prescribed social custom. Dead ancestors may take an interest in the affairs of the living and communicate important advice.

Although kin groups such as clans acted as competitive interest groups, they were part of larger political formations. The minimal political unit or polity of the historical Southeast was the Okla (Choctaw) or talwa (Muskogee) (Gatschet 1969:156158; Swanton 1928:242; Lankford 1981:53). The okla consisted of a population that participated in political, economic, and ceremonial activities at a common center. The leadership structure consisted of a civil chief, a war chief, a retinue of minor functionaries with largely ceremonial or religious duties, and a council of elders and warriors.

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