Mississippian period cemeteries in the American Bottom, Illinois, were divided into three categories representing two distinct social strata. Burial areas for an elite stratum occurred in large, regionally important town-and-mound centers. Locational, organizational, and artifactual criteria distinguish these burial areas from those of a non-elite social stratum. Members of the non-elite social stratum were buried either in cemeteries located within regional centers or in peripherally located cemeteries associated with outlying communities. Mortuary practices in the American Bottom changed somewhat during the several hundred year duration of the Mississippian period. These changes were particularly apparent at peripheral cemeteries. The size and distribution of these cemeteries were related to levels of regional social segmentation and settlement autonomy, which changed throughout the Mississippian period.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)