Creating a Cahokian Community: Rethinking Mississippian Storage Practices

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution


The procurement, processing, preparation and most importantly here, the storage of food, are inextricably tied to the everyday lived experiences of peoples of the past and cannot be disentangled from larger social, economic, and political processes. Storage pits and structures feature prominently in prior studies of Mississippian households but they are mostly regarded as utilitarian and economic spaces rather than integral to communities. Similarly, previous interpretations of Mississippian storage practices have focused on politico-economic functions, connecting the intensification of maize agriculture and control of surplus to the rise of complex hierarchical polities. However, changes in storage practices would have altered the ways communities and identities were physically constructed and how people moved around, interacted with, and related to food, objects, stores, pits, and each other. In this paper, we explore more nuanced entanglements of everyday storage practices and embodied experiences and how they are linked to the physical and relational reconfiguration of communal identities at the onset of the Mississippian period. Utilizing data from the Greater Cahokia region in Illinois, we contend that changes in storage practices during the Mississippian transition were integral to the physical reorganization of communities and the construction of communal identities in a new Cahokian world.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationAbstracts of the SAA 81st Annual Meeting
StatePublished - 2016


  • ISAS


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