Skilled crafting at Cahokia's Fingerhut Tract

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This paper presents material and spatial evidence on skilled crafting from a series of archaeological investigations at the Fingerhut Tract, located in the western portion of the Mississippian period (AD 1050–1400) Cahokia site in southwestern Illinois. Specifically, skilled crafters at the Fingerhut Tract throughout the Mississippian period resided in distinct household clusters and neighborhoods, were part or members of elite families, and assembled multiple exotic materials into accoutrements used in religious ceremonies. Moreover, the special knowledge of these skilled crafters was likely obtained during journeys to distant locations and was passed down through time within particular family, kin, or social groups. Perhaps most important, the evidence indicates that crafting these items was entangled with religious practice and not solely an economic or political pursuit as suggested in earlier prestige good models.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)259-280
Number of pages22
JournalSoutheastern Archaeology
StatePublished - 2020


  • Cahokia
  • Mississippian period
  • microdrills
  • religious journeys
  • shell beads
  • skilled crafting

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Archaeology


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