Death and Sacrifice in the American Bottom

Eve A. Hargrave, Julie A. Bukowski, Lenna Nash

Research output: Contribution to conferenceOtherpeer-review


Single burials and isolated human elements have been discovered in association with large post pits at several late prehistoric sites in the American Bottom region of Illinois, including the East Saint Louis Mound Center. The location, burial positioning, and sex of these individuals, and isolated elements suggest intentional deposition of human remains. Feature profiles illustrate that these burial events were associated with the removal and refilling of large marker posts. The use of posts to mark sacred space, and the association of ritual offerings and human sacrifice with sacred space, have been identified on a larger scale within Mound 72 at the American Bottom Mississippian mound center of Cahokia. These offertory burial events and evidence for human sacrifice are all associated with the early Mississippian Lohmann and Stirling phases (A.D. 1050-1200). This paper focuses on the unique relationship that exists between human sacrifice and the delineation of sacred space during a period of significant ideological and political change.
Original languageEnglish (US)
StatePublished - 2014


  • ISAS


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