Investigating Mississippian landscapes, places, and identities through geophysics

B. Jacob Skousen, Christina M. Friberg

Research output: Contribution to journalEditorialpeer-review


In the last decade, geophysical survey data has increasingly been used by North American archaeologists to address more theoretically driven research questions. The articles in this special issue build on this trend. In this introductory article, we contend that geophysical survey data can help archaeologists to better understand the social identities of so-called Mississippian peoples in Midwestern and Southeastern North America. Methodologically, geophysical surveys produce data on entire sites and landscapes within a short period of time, with a scope and efficiency that cannot be achieved through traditional excavation techniques. Perhaps more importantly, Native American senses of identity, both past and present, are tied to landscapes, places, and movement, all of which can be studied using non-invasive geophysical survey techniques. Therefore, geophysical surveys can and should be an integral tool in the study of Mississippian identity as well as the identities of other indigenous groups throughout the Americas.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number102879
JournalJournal of Archaeological Science: Reports
StatePublished - Apr 2021


  • Geophysical survey
  • Landscapes
  • Mississippian societies
  • Social identity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Archaeology
  • Archaeology


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