Talk:Mississippian culture

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Middle Mississippian Period[edit]

I find it misleading to speak of the "Middle Mississippian Period," since Middle Mississippian usually refers to what this article in general is calling Mississippian. The word "middle" refers to geography, not time. MM is contrasted with Upper Mississippian (e.g., Oneota, Ft. Ancient) and Lower Mississippian (e.g., the Jaketown site) in the professional literature.

-Well, since I just heard (a professional) and others misusing Middle Mississippian that way three days ago at the Southeastern Archaeological Conference, I would conclude that you are overestimating the amount of professional agreement going on... On the other hand, I agree that the terms would be better (more clearly) used as you describe.

summary- (brief debate on validity of Middle Mississippian as a temporal term instead of a geographic term)

The term "Middle" is in no way used exclusively for geographical designations (e.g. Middle Kingdom of Egypt, Middle kingdoms of India). In almost every chronology for any region there is a time span designated the "middle" period. Please do not push your individual usage of words on Wikipedia readers. ♆ CUSH ♆ 08:04, 1 October 2013 (UTC)
why summarize -- are you trying to save space?? Others can learn something from your debate, and talk pages do spark new ideas. I'm strongly in favor of keeping comments available for review. WBardwin 06:41, 11 November 2005 (UTC)
Actually, just summarized because I used a professional's personal name in our conversation and I decided it is better left out.TriNotch 06:50, 11 November 2005 (UTC)

I guess that's a problem with southern archaeologists. I certainly haven't seen or heard it used that way by people working in the Middle Mississippian area. (I'm an Oneota scholar, but my firsst work was at Cahokia almost a half century ago.)

I worked at Cahokia in 2000-2001, but I moved further southeast after that. I think I've figured out who you are, but I expect you don't know me. I'm too new to the field.TriNotch 06:50, 11 November 2005 (UTC)

OK, guys, now that introductions are done, perhaps you could expand the article a bit, for the benefit of us for whom this will be the only source of information on Mississippian Culture :) --bonzi (talk) 08:44, 22 May 2008 (UTC)

Known Mississippian Chiefdoms?[edit]

Wondering about the addition of another site? How is "chiefdom" being defined? There is a site near Tallahassee, Florida, called Lake Jackson Mounds Archaeological State Park. According to the Florida Online Park Guide; "The park site was part of what is now known as the Southeastern Ceremonial Complex."

Unfortunately, the online information related to this site seems to leave a lot to be desired. It does appear, however, that the Lake Jackson site is an important one.

I'm not sure if this section of the article is listing "known sites" or only ones considered "chiefdoms"; thats why I asked how is the term being defined. Your thoughts?

--Derek Spalla (talk) 12:29, 12 April 2008 (UTC)

Related Links:


What does the article mean by saying M had no metallurgy? The Wik definition of metallurgy is almost certainly not what is meant. If what is meant is working of metal, then the statement is blatantly wrong. Probably what is meant is smelting or some-thing along those lines, which is generally accepted by professionals.Kdammers 07:23, 23 December 2005 (UTC)

Hmm. Well, I was trying to get at the limitations of M metal working, which as far as I know included drilling, beating, maybe riveting techniques, and nothing else. I used the wiki link to indicate, as per the Wik definition, that they did not use "casting, forging, rolling, extrusion, sintering, machining and fabrication." How about a change to something like, "Mississippians could work metals, but were not familiar with the techniques of modern metallurgy?" Or do you have a better suggestion? Feel free to make the change. TriNotch 10:37, 27 December 2005 (UTC)
It's getting there: it's not misleading now. But it could still be better. Let's see what we can come up with.
It is more correct to say that the M had no metals technology. They apparently used copper as a found object for ritual or decorative purposes but never used it for tools or weapons. Moreover, they apparently never melted or smelted the stuff or attempted to alloy it with other metals. The Copper, Bronze, and Iron Ages never reached the Americas until the coming of the Europeans. Virgil H. Soule (talk) 13:06, 23 July 2012 (UTC)

Contact with Europeans[edit]

This section was recently chopped due to an asserted POV problem- I reverted this because it seemed to me that except for a few words (which I removed), most of that section was NPOV (i.e. historically documented fact), just uncited. Perhaps some more help with citations would be useful for this article? Oh, also, Rjensen, your edits are appreciated, but the use of the terms "civilization" and "fragments" both have connotations which are inappropriate in this context. "Civilization" implies A. a level of sophistication comparable to the classic civilizations of the Old World, B. that anyone else is "uncivilized," and C. a degree of political unity which is undemonstrated for Mississippian peoples. As for "fragments", that has a negative connotation, implying that modern day Native Americans are somehow a diminished remnant, rather than a successfully adapted and continuing cultural tradition. Please express any dissent, and note that this article does need both expansion and improved citation. TriNotch 06:18, 18 February 2006 (UTC)

almost all known sites are dated before 1492 -- I can't think of any major ones after 1500. That means there is not much evidence of Columbian Exchange impact--the does not make clear the multiple views on the subject and is therefore POV. As for "fragments", I'm afraid that's about all you have comparing the post 1500 cultures in the areas. Which tribe most closely resembles the Mississippeans? we can start there. Rjensen 06:31, 18 February 2006 (UTC)
Okay, just added a little direct citation and such to make things seem more clear. In terms of sites and tribes resembling the Mississippians, I am beginning to wonder if we misunderstand one another. Correct me if I'm wrong, but how about the two capitals of the Hasinai/Caddo? Echota of the Cherokee? The Grand Village of the Natchez? Nanih Waiya of the Choctaw, construction of which continued into the historic period? The historic Cherokee mound center of Coweeta Creek? The Coosa chiefdom? The Lady of Cofitachequi? Arguably, the Powhatan Confederacy encountered by the first inhabitants of Jamestown was an eastern coastal cultural relative of the Mississippians. I would say any and all of these are essentially Mississippian chiefdom centers in the historic period. If your contention is that no serious European contact is involved with any obvious Mississippian chiefdom, I would agree- exactly because of the series of political collapses that occurred following the introduction of European diseases. Are you suggesting that the historic Native Americans are not demonstrably related to the Mississippians? Because I wouldn't say that any one tribe most resembles the Mississippians- I would say they all do, in this region. Distinct cultural traditions appear to have demonstrable continuity from the prehistoric into the historic era.
I am worried that I have become confused about your POV assertion. Maybe you could write the other perspective so that we can present an NPOV article. TriNotch 06:55, 18 February 2006 (UTC)
Your newest edit seems to demonstrate that you don't agree that the historic Native Americans (Here I'm thinking of the Natchez, Choctaw, Chickasaw, Cherokee, and Creek, to name the most obviously related groups) are the cultural descendents of the Mississippians. Why not? TriNotch 06:59, 18 February 2006 (UTC)
Descendants ok, but "cultural" is problematic. They seem strikingly different. Why they changes I don't know--but of course the Cherokee in particular (and Creek/Seminole) are famous for undergoing very dramatic cultural changes since 1540. The Mississipp1an sites have very few European cultural artifacts (two small items at Parkin) and the Cherokee sites have very few Mississipp1an artifacts, which I take as suggesting little interaction. Rjensen 07:06, 18 February 2006 (UTC)
Well, all right. I'm willing to agree that your most recent edit works for me. I will thus surrender the disagreement for the moment. Oddly, I think the article originally agreed with you that most of the Mississippian cultures never had contact with Europeans, except indirectly by way of disease, so I'm not sure why we started talking about that.
However, there IS demonstrable cultural continuity from the Mississippian cultures right up to modern tribes- although you are right that they've undergone some really significant changes, like any culture does in 500 years. The Creeks, for example, seem to have used the same community layouts from around 1200 AD to the 19th century (according to John Swanton). I think the question is not really whether historic Native Americans are culturally related to Mississippians, because that is a certainty. The question is when we stop calling it "Mississippian." Is it when they stop building mounds? Is it when they stop having hierarchical chiefdoms and start having tribal confederacies? Is it when Europeans show up? Is it when the pottery styles change? Is it when epidemic diseases reduce the population? Since all of these things happened at different times and different places, the term "Mississippian" is somewhat arbitrary. On the other hand, maybe you and I just disagree on what constitutes "cultural relatedness." Another comment; your Questia references are good (I like those books), but since they are published books, I don't think you need to mention the website at all. TriNotch 07:31, 18 February 2006 (UTC)

One more thing- The DeSoto/Parkin thing really should probably go in the DeSoto article. The mention of DeSoto in this article should probably be brief. TriNotch 07:31, 18 February 2006 (UTC)

Okay, removed the Questia links, and rephrased a couple of things. Let me know if you think this is not an improvement. TriNotch 07:38, 18 February 2006 (UTC)

it's an improvement but leave the Questia as it shows a very valuable table of contents that users will otherwise miss. Let me add that the Natchez, in my opinion, displayed what we are looking for but do not find in other tribes as heritage of Miss. culture. Rjensen 07:53, 18 February 2006 (UTC)
Agree, but suggest that the questia links be placed in the external links section. I hope you're right about the Natchez, because an awful lot of people have derived direct-historical analogies based on them. Personally, I'm not sure, since they were so different from all the other tribes. It just seems improbable that the Natchez would preserve things that NO OTHER tribe did. Hmm. But that's a whole different article. TriNotch 07:59, 18 February 2006 (UTC)
Questia is directly related to the book in question. As for Natchez, they certainly look different, compared to all the other SE tribes--it's just as if they were a last remnant of Mis. culture. I want some better evidence of cultural links between Mis. and the other tribes and I do not see them. For an encyclopedia we alert readers there's not much evidence there. Rjensen 08:16, 18 February 2006 (UTC)

Mississippians are not known to have had...[edit]

I reverted this edit "Mississippians are not known to have had a writing system, extractive metallurgy, stone architecture" because I think it is better to state forcefully, based on available data, that they did not have those things. Saying that we don't know is kind of like saying "The Italian Renaissance is not known to have had cellular phones." The possibility that they had them is sufficiently remote as to be irrelevant. As always, I invite discussion, but I do not see the value of the change. TriNotch 23:37, 20 March 2006 (UTC)

In many cases, the traces we have of written languages of the past are so scant, we are lucky to have them at all. If the Western Apache cultural tradition ends, it seems likely that people of the future will not know that they do, in fact, have an indigenous writing system because of its nature. Before 1986, nobody would've even guessed that the Epi-Olmec had a writing system.
It seems much more absurd to suggest that the Italian Rennaissance had cellular phones than to suggest that the Mississipians had a writing system(s).
The Western Apache indigenous "writing system" is only about 80 years old, is only used for ritual purposes, and occurred in the context of intense European contact, so I don't see it as a useful counter-example. Might as well talk about the Cherokee syllabary (which would be more culturally relevant anyway). I used the cellular phone example to give a comparable time difference in cultural development- the temporal gap between the Italian Renaissance and the cell phone is about the same amount of time as the gap between the Middle Mississippian and the existence of ANY demonstrable writing system in use by any culture north of Mexico. I do clearly exaggerate, but the point is important: If there were no native writing systems before the Mississippians, and no native writing systems until 300 years after the Mississippians, why would we suggest a native writing system for the Mississippians? It is a cultural fallacy brought about by our collective esteem of the written word to assume that literacy was either desireable or probable in Native North American cultures before European contact. As for the Epi-Olmec, I agree- but even before we knew they had a writing system, we knew they had a vast corpus of flat-surface standardized iconography. For the Mississippians, we have a decidedly limited body of such work that we could propose as the predecessor of a writing system.
For the record, I consider the writing system to be possibly the most likely of the three things listed based on present evidence (none of them are likely). Stone architecture and metallurgy (meaning, I am careful to point out, the techniques of smelting and forging available to the Inka or the Spanish at the same time) seem even more remote from any recognizable Mississippian or Eastern North American Native American practices. TriNotch 07:16, 3 April 2006 (UTC)
That's not entirely true. There are various writing systems that were known to have been used or claimed to have been used that long ago. Also, it really depends on how broad your definition of "writing system" is. Would you include the markings used on calendar sticks by the Pima and Papago? Certainly, they can record history unambiguously, and very accurately at that, to the point of being able to record a car accident (the most recent known calendar stick example I've seen, from some time in the 80s). On the other hand, the system is/was used only in a limited context. Then there are the examples of Lakota writing system, which supposedly represents language, but has only been recorded in a limited capacity and is not known to have existed pre-contact, although it shows no real influence from European systems (it is customarily written in a spiral originating at the center; it is a sort of relational logography not used anywhere else; etc). There are a few other systems like this, however the validity of most of them is not certain. Some Cree claim that the Cree syllabary originated pre-contact and was not, in fact, invented by Evans. To support this claim, they ask if there are any parallels between the method of conveying vowels in that system, and any system in use in Europe at the time, or ever. Some Cherokees also claim that Sequoyah did not invent the Cherokee syllabary, he was merely passing it on. The syllabary they are referring to is not the modern Cherokee syllabar, but rather the one originally used by Sequoyah, which doesn't look like any other writing system (it was replaced by the current one due to the printing press). Also, it seems quite possible that the great lakes syllabary existed pre-contact.
Another problem is the materials used. Many Middle Eastern cultures used stone, clay, or metal, so their writings were relatively well-preserved. On the other hand, the Lakota used animal hides, and thus the only modern records we have of their writing system that are likely to survive into the next century are tracings from outsiders or from the time just before its extinction when some people began to write it on paper. Other cultures have been known to write on leaves or wood (pre-contact Philippine literacy used sticks, Shan literacy used palm leaves, Rapanui literacy used mostly driftwood).
  • I am still not happy about the inclusion of metallurgy. Let's come up with a better wording! Kdammers 09:17, 21 March 2006 (UTC)
We could add a line to Cultural Traits that says "10. Mississippian peoples could work native copper, silver, and iron deposits into ornaments and basic tools using percussion and drilling techniques, but did not practice smelting or forging." Would that be better? Also, would you find this sentence factually correct? TriNotch 07:16, 3 April 2006 (UTC)
Hmm, actually that might not work, since it isn't a diagnostic cultural trait of Mississippians versus Woodland period peoples- so it shouldn't go on that particular list. Maybe my new sentence should just follow the list, but come before the "no writing system or stone architecture" sentence.TriNotch 07:20, 3 April 2006 (UTC)
I've reworded this section again- does this sound better to everyone? TriNotch 03:33, 10 May 2006 (UTC)


Actually that statement isn't entirely accurate, as numerous artifacts (mostly copper axes, celts,beads pins ets.) recovered from Cahokia and other Missisipian sites show conclusive evidence of heated forging, although it is true that the Missisipians did not smelt metals from ore. 08:17, 20 June 2006 (UTC)

copper age[edit]

An editor has recently deleted "copper age" as a category to which this article's subject belongs. The term is applicable in that worked copper has certainly been found at Middle Mississippian <e.g., see "World Systems Theory, Core Periphery Interactions and Elite Economic Exchange in Mississippian Societies," JWSR 2 (10) 1996 by Robert J. Jeske> (and Upper Mississippian) sites, but the TERM "copper age" is not generally used by archaeologists working in North America. Kdammers 04:38, 30 December 2006 (UTC)

  • I think someone just re-added it, don't remember it being there before. It seems that being part of the "copper age" would require the smelting of copper, not just working with raw nuggets. Every description I've ever come across is of them being part of the neolithic era. I really don't think copper age should be there, anyone else concur?Heironymous Rowe (talk) 23:20, 10 September 2008 (UTC)
See my comment above re metallurgy. The true Copper, Bronze, and Iron Ages never reached the Americas until the coming of the Europeans. Virgil H. Soule (talk) 13:06, 23 July 2012 (UTC)

Initial date[edit]

There has been an edit and revert for the approximate starting date of Mississippian culture (900 vs. 800). Let's have a discussion here rather just editing back and forth.

As a start:

The Logan Museum URL says: "Around 700 CE a new tradition known as the Mississippian was forming in the area of northeastern Arkansas and southeastern Missouri."

Golden Ink (I don't know who they are): "Kolomoki Mounds (Blakely, Georgia) is considered to be one of the few transitional sites between the Hopewell Culture and the Mississippian Culture that prevailed from 800AD to 1600 AD." ( )

En. Brit. online: "the last major prehistoric cultural development in North America, lasting from about AD 700 to the time of the arrival of the first European explorers"

Does any-one have a good recent journal article or book? Kdammers 02:09, 6 September 2007 (UTC)


I just noticed a tag requesting a map to help describe the subject. I can make one relative easily, thought I would ask for some thougts first tho. Should I include just one area, i.e. all mississippian culture, or break it up in middle mississippian, fort ancient, plaquemine, appalachian mississippian, etc.? Any one wanna put 2 cents in now before I do the work?Heironymous Rowe (talk) 23:27, 10 September 2008 (UTC)

  • OK, so was bored and made and added a map. I can still edit it tho, have the original un-flattened file.Heironymous Rowe (talk) 05:26, 11 September 2008 (UTC)

The Fort Ancient culture shares only Items #2 and #3 of the Cultural traits of the Mississipian. These two traits are also found in the upper most Ohio Valley Monongahelian Culture who traded with its sister culture, the Fort Ancient culture. The late Fort Ancient culture called the Clover Complex. It is reckless to include a culture and not cite the field scientists who actually wrote the abstracts at the dig sites. Fort Ancient is not mentioned in this Mississipian Culture article as it should not be mentioned or "mapped" with these according to our region's field scientist work over the past couple decades. Today's latest scientific publishings show that our Clover Complex, latest Fort Ancients, derived from the people long established here who did have reaching trade routes especially the on the rivers and across the Allegheny Mountians to Virginia and the Chesapeake Bay. The Ohio Historic Society has pointed out the closest pure, otherwise, classic Mississipian Culture archeological site is near Evansville Indiana, just below the Louisville Falls. I wish I could recall that sites nomenclature which is beyond our region. The Evansville site has the pretty clearly Mississippian art designs on a few artifact. Cord wrapped impressions on shell tempored ceramics is common with a number of non-Mississipian peoples including the Monongahela Culture. Our Fort Ancients built no "Effigy Mounds" nor did they build a "Priest's Mound" for their culture had no Elite cult leader like niether the Hopewellian Elite Priesthood nor Mississippian priest chieftan society. Grave content just is not their except for a couple of Monongahelian graves in charnel houses for the western Pennsylvania region. Like I said, there are only two clearly common denominators in your article's list which both traits are commonly found at a number of non-Mississipian sites. Conaughy (talk) 14:58, 16 February 2009 (UTC)

OK, any articles or books covering this? dougweller (talk) 15:19, 16 February 2009 (UTC)

Yes, there are more than I can quickly list here. Here is a recent biblio for the Middle and Upper Ohio Valley and Allegheny Mountains. Dr Maslowski will have a paper coming out for the Clover Complex in a few months that is eagerly awaited for by we amateurs of the very latest field findings. Cultural Resource Analysts, Inc. (CRAI) of Kentucky, West Virginia, Illinois, Rocky Mountain West (Longmont, Colorado), and Ohio is another who do the field and lab work for our Industrial/cmmercial required archeological surveys who also publish the very latest scientific results:

An example from The Pennslyvania Archaeologist Volume 77(1), Spring 2007 THE LATE PREHISTORIC COMPONENTS AT THE GODWIN-PORTMAN SITE, 36AL39, abstract RICHARD L. GEORGE. It had several Late Prehistoric occupations. This multicomponent site was destroyed in 1979.

Doctor Sciulli across the river in Ohio is another "must read". He's the scientist/Prof who date Meadowcroft acros the northern state line here in Pennsylvania. There are far too many Prof's books to list quickly here that is not old fashion main stream from the earlier thinking of the 20th century. I guess I'm suggesting that there a too many out dated concepts still making popular print these days.

Upper Panhandle Archaic

Archeology of the Great Kanawha Navigation" by Robert F. Maslowski, Archeologist, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (retired). A paper presented the Fifth World Archeology Conference, Washington, DC, June 2003

"The Kanawha Valley and its Prehistoric People" by Dr. Robert F. Maslowski

References Clover Complex: Guilday(1971); McMichael(1963); 46PU31; Buffalo Site; Clover; UGA-304; 270; 120; AD 1680; AD 1651; 299; Broyles 1976:5, Hemmings 1985

"Archeology of the Great Kanawha Navigation"

"Mounds For The Dead" by Prof Dragoo Vol #37 Carnegy 1963 (Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania)

"Introduction to West Virginia Archeology", by Edward V. McMichael, 2nd Edition Revised, Educational Series West Virginia Geological and Economic Survery, by Paul H. Price Director and State Geologist Morgantown 1968, published by West Virginia Archeological Society, P.O. Box 300, Huricane WV 25526, attn. C. Michael Anslinger, Pres.

Selected Abstracts From CRAI Reports, Cultural Resource Analysts, Inc.

"Commoners, Tribute, and Chiefs: The Delopment of Algonqiuan Culture in the Potomac Valley", by Stephen R Potter, Published by University of Virginia Press, 1994, ISBN 0813915406, 9780813915401

THE LATE PREHISTORIC COMPONENTS AT THE GODWIN-PORTMAN SITE, 36AL39, abstract RICHARD L. GEORGE. It had several Late Prehistoric occupations. This multicomponent site was destroyed in 1979. The Pennslyvania Archaeologist Volume 77(1), Spring 2007

"Discovering Pennsylvania's Archeological Heritage" by Barry C. Kent

"A Framework for Pennsylvania Indian History", The Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission, Harrisburg, 1971 p.491 Daniel K. Richter, Pennsylvania History, Vol. 57, Number 3, July 1990, p. 243. "Burials continued to be made in the village and under the hearth, while the Susquehannocks on the same site had out of the village cemeteries", "Foundations of Pennsylvania Prehistory, The Shenks Ferry People" by Henry W. Hiesey and J. Paul Witmer. The Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission, Harrisburg, 1971 p491.

McFate Artifacts In a Monongahela Context; McJunkin, Johnston, and Squirrel Hill by Richard L. George; ABSTRACT: In a 1978 Pennsylvania Archaeologist report, it was suggested that the McFate presence on the McJunkin site may have been the result of foreign potters, namely women, living among the resident Monongahela.

Brashler, J.G. 1987. "A Middle 16th Century Susquehannock Village in Hampshire County"; West Virginia, West Virginia Archeologist 39(2): 1-30.

Guidelines for Phase I, II, and III Archaeological Investigations and Technical Report Preparation, Prepared by the West Virginia State Historic Preservation Office, Written by Patrick Trader, Edited by Joanna Wilson

West Virginia Archeological Society Annual Meeting 2008

"How Science Works - And How It Doesn't" By W. Hunter Lesser, The West Virginia Archeologist Volume 41, Number 1, Spring 1989

There are several more in biblio that I probably should include, but, one of my favorite sources to abstracts is found in Pennsylvania's Society here for example:

An example of what I'm trying to say can be seen in this short abstract:

Corncob-Impressed Pottery at Late Prehistoric Sites in West Virginia, quoting from this past years annual meeting, "A significant percentage of the assemblage (Recent excavations at Burning Spring Branch 46Ka142) exhibited corncob impressing similar to that found in southwestern Virginia. A study of pottery from other sites in West Virginia determined that the use of this previously unrecognized surface treatment was extensive. This discovery adds weight to the argument that Siouan groups migrated through West Virginia and may have inhabited the Kanawha Valley. It also suggests that further research is needed to determine associations between the precontact inhabitants of the Kanawha Valley and those in southwestern Virginia and the Ohio Valley." Darla Spencer, RPA, Cultural Resource Analysts, Inc. 2008 West Virginia Archeological Society Annual Meeting.

"The Fort Ancient tradition follows the Late Woodland period within the Ohio River Valley. Joining trees (DNA ANALYSIS) revealed that the Ohio Hopewell do not group with samples from Fort Ancient populations of the Ohio River Valley, but with samples from Glacial Kame, Adena or Norris Farms, possibly indicating some relationship between the groups. This in part could be due to small sample size and a low number of sites that have been amplified. More work within all of the Ohio River Valley cultures is needed to give a clearer picture to archaeologists, linguists and biological anthropologists alike." is from one of Doctor Sciulli's department's grad-students thesis.

There are several dozen latest modern scientists that should be mentioned who have published and it seems they have been ignored by the general public. My point is that there are new things being discovered that does not make "main stream" news or books-- if one does not read our scholar's ongoing work out in the field and lab. Conaughy (talk) 16:13, 16 February 2009 (UTC)

Rate C-Class[edit]

Hello there, although I am not a member of the Wikiproject Indiginous peoples I took the liberty to rate the article at C-Class quality. In my opinion this could qualify for B-class easily right away or with only minor improvements. So I hope that I am on the safe side with the C-rating as a non-member of the project. Excuse my intrusion but I am a fan of article rating, because it gives editors an indication where the article stands. Take care, doxTxob \ talk 23:51, 13 March 2009 (UTC)

PS - I see a potential for improvement especially with the references, there are 5 references that are not pointing to the facts but are stated as general references at the bottom. For a reader to make his or her own decision about the article content, it is important to have inline references for all important facts. That way, it is easily possible for the reader to identify which source the fact is derived from and to make up their mind how reliable that source might be. If all information is in one text without inline citations and there is a bunch of references at the bottom, it is very time consuming to figure out which fact is covered by which source. As unimportant as this sounds, this kind of referencing has an impact on the article quality that should not be underestimated. Good referencing takes some time and effort, but it is worth it! The article might make it to B class like this or it might not. I decided not, due to the referencing issue. The hurdle to GA (Good article) class is impossible to take without full inline referencing of all important facts.
Overall, the article is very attractive due to the impressive illustrations. Good writing, a good structure and appropriate illustrations close to the topic in the text enhance the quality of this article. Very nice work! doxTxob \ talk 00:11, 14 March 2009 (UTC)

Racist Imagery?[edit]

Hi, does anyone else find the image currently in this article of a first-nation priest holding a severed head to be racist? We may have very good reason to believe that this culture performed human sacrifice, but is English wikipedia's choice to include this image a reflection upon that history, or is it a reflection upon our perception of that history? DGGenuine (talk) 21:27, 15 January 2010 (UTC)DGGenuine

Not in particular, no I don't find it racist. Plenty of groups practiced headhunting, ritual sacrifice, slavery, etc. Why do you find it racist? And to add your sig to a post, type 4 tildes at the end. Heironymous Rowe (talk) 21:14, 15 January 2010 (UTC)
Here are a couple of examples of decapitated head in Mississippian culture art, some of the ones I used to create the illustration.

And please dont refactor your posts after they have been responded to. Add an new post under it please. Heironymous Rowe (talk) 21:30, 15 January 2010 (UTC)

Imagine a portrait from the future of an Enron executive. It is well-known (and significant) that Enron executives engaged in outrageously illegal and immoral accounting actions while the company lasted. Imagine this portrait showed the executive holding a book on the front of which appeared a tax code designation, like 26 U.S.C. 18XX, and that this tax code contained the rules that the executives had schemed to steal money (whatever rules those may in fact actually have been). This would be an accurate portrait, and it would indicate important characteristics of the Executive's life, but I think everyone would agree that it is biased against the executive.
The difference between this example and the current one is that perhaps the Mississippian culture glorified human sacrifice (and would not object to a priest carrying a sacrificial head), unlike our culture where, while we may glorify greed and profit, we do not glorify illegality. Based on the images you linked then if it is in fact the case that the Mississippians portrayed themselves gloriously using decapitated heads, then I guess this portrait is just a modern rendition of those images and not racist.
I would note that each of these images is your modern creation (as opposed to photographs of the images in-place), but I presume you have accurately copied imagery that correctly relates back to the pre-columbian era. Are you are sure that this motif of a priest/warrior glorified holding a head is prevalent and was respected in pre-columbian times by the Mississipians, and not just an outlier image that would not have been condoned by the culture? Thanks, DGGenuine (talk) 21:49, 15 January 2010 (UTC)
Of the 3 examples provided, one is from Georgia, next from Missouri I believe, and the 3rd from Alabama, so no they are not from outlying parts of the culture. Also, there are many other such images contained in their artifacts. Such as 2 head pots are from Arkansas that are thought to be either the decapitated heads of honored ancestors or of enemies. The one is another drawing by someone else of the artifact I included above, all I did was color and remove the border. The next is of a ceremonial mace found in Oklahoma. The one black and white line drawing of the bird dancer is from a copper plate, almost identical examples of which have been found in Oklahoma, Alabama, and Georgia. See Etowah Indian Mounds.

Heironymous Rowe (talk) 22:06, 15 January 2010 (UTC)

Also, the bellows shaped apron worn by many of the figures depicted is considered to be a graphic representation of a human scalp hanging from a belt. For more Mississippian imagery, see here Southeastern Ceremonial Complex.Heironymous Rowe (talk) 22:12, 15 January 2010 (UTC)
Okay, makes sense. Thanks for engaging me on this. Also thanks for your contributions to the site. (Added a question mark to the title of this section, btw) DGGenuine (talk) 22:16, 15 January 2010 (UTC)
Rite on, no problem. Happy editing. Heironymous Rowe (talk) 22:18, 15 January 2010 (UTC)

Info for language / language group?[edit]

Do we know what language they spoke, or at least what language group they belonged to (if they were an isolate)? This information is important not only for identifing the culture but determining if there's a genetic relationship with surrounding cultures and should be added to the article. (talk) 02:47, 21 June 2010 (UTC)

Many differant language groups were involved with Mississippian culture, including but not limited to Choctaw, Creek and other Muskogean languages, Natchez, Tunica, Cherokee, various Siouan groups, Caddoan groups, and others. There was no one language, it was not one monolithic culture or empire. See the infobox template at the bottom of the article page for links to languages and sites. Heironymous Rowe (talk) 03:31, 21 June 2010 (UTC)

Mounds as flood refuges[edit]

Has anyone in the literature suggested that the mounds were perhaps built as flood refuges? It should be noted that mounds are located on the Mississippi and Ohio River flood plains, which in that era would be inundated just about every spring. Villagers would have been displaced and their houses destroyed on a predictable, annual basis. Were the M sites still occupied when the Europeans arrived? Virgil H. Soule (talk) 13:06, 23 July 2012 (UTC)

request photo (s) of fluorite carvings[edit]

If someone could please take a photo of one of the fluorite carvings, would be much appreciated. I have surfed on this a fair amount and there is mention of fluorite carvings, but I can't find images on the net. Will be a little research to locate where the specimens are also. TCO (talk) 18:43, 25 May 2013 (UTC) squirrels are nice.

Dating system[edit]

This article had a BCE/CE dating system until this undiscussed, unilateral edit [1] by anonymous IP User on September 23rd. The recent edits restore the previously establishing dating system. -Uyvsdi (talk) 06:09, 1 October 2013 (UTC)Uyvsdi

Nice catch. ♆ CUSH ♆ 07:56, 1 October 2013 (UTC)
The dating system is incorrect as it is. It should be AD 500, not 500 AD. Either use 500 CE or AD 500, stop reverting it back to being incorrect. Chafinsky (talk) 16:27, 2 October 2013 (UTC)
I reverted it to BCE/CE, which is what it was before. The only thing that remains with "AD" is the title of an article in a reference, which stays exactly as it is titled on the website. -Uyvsdi (talk) 18:25, 2 October 2013 (UTC)Uyvsdi
That's wrong, WP:ERA says "AD may appear before or after a year (AD 106, 106 AD); the other abbreviations appear after (106 CE, 3700 BCE, 3700 BC)." Dougweller (talk) 18:07, 2 October 2013 (UTC)
You are correct, I didn't realize both were acceptable.Chafinsky (talk) 21:44, 2 October 2013 (UTC)
No problem. Dougweller (talk) 09:36, 3 October 2013 (UTC)

Requested move at Talk:Mississippian[edit]

I've started a requested move at Talk:Mississippian#Requested move that may affect this article, editors are invited to participate.--Cúchullain t/c 19:08, 20 May 2014 (UTC)

External links modified[edit]

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