Ritual Sacrifice in the American Bottom: Archaeological Contexts and Interpretations

Eve A. Hargrave, Dawn E. Cobb, Lenna Nash, Julie A. Bukowski, Sarah E. Baires

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


Primary burials and isolated human crania have been found in association with large post pits at several early Mississippian sites in the American Bottom region of Illinois. Their physical location, positioning, and demographic characteristics suggest that the intentional deposition of human remains as sacrifice or offering was part of broader community based ritual events. The association of these deposits with the early Mississippian Lohmann and Stirling phases (A.O. 1050-1200) cor-relates with an influx of people and political and ideological innovations occurring at Cahokia. This paper explores the role of human sacrifice and the delineation of sacred space during the early Mississippian period at Cahokia and surrounding mound centers as it relates to the development and sustainability of the Cahokia phenomenon. Regional comparisons are made within the Midwestern and South-eastern regions to determine whether similar burial events occur elsewhere during this period or whether they are unique to the American Bottom.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationMAC 2014 Abstracts
StatePublished - 2014


  • ISAS


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