The information, interpretations, and conclusions presented in this volume represent only one small portion of the outpouring of new ideas that have been produced by Dr. Timothy Pauketat’s analysis of the Tract 15A and Dunham Tract archaeological remains. His research, which began in 1988, quickly produced a dissertation entitled The Dynamics of Pre-state Political Centralization in the North American Midcontinent followed by a theoretically oriented monograph, The Ascent of Chiefs: Cahokia and Mississippian Politics in Native North America, and numerous articles on the Cahokian sphere. Up until now, however, the structural and artifactual basis for Pauketat’s innovative interpretations and new understanding of Cahokia have not been available to a wide audience. As Pauketat himself notes in his introduction, “significant advances in understanding past large-scale human organizations... require large archaeological samples” and additional advances demand that this information be made available to as wide an audience of fellow scholars as possible. This volume represents such a contribution to the present and future study of the great Cahokian center.
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