Instead it is an explanation of visual structure, of the ways in which certain visual elements have been arranged and function within a composition.
Mississippian people were horticulturalists. They grew much of their food in small gardens using simple tools like stone axes, digging sticks, and fire. Cornbeans, squash, sunflowers, goosefoot, sumpweed, and other plants were cultivated.
Mississippian people also collected fish, shellfish, and turtles from riversstreams, and ponds. Unlike contemporary people, Mississippian people spent much of their lives outdoors.
Their houses were used mainly for shelter from inclement weather, sleeping in cold months, and storage. These were rectangular or circular pole structures; the poles were set in individual holes or in continuous trenches. Walls were made by weaving saplings and cane around the poles, and the outer surface of the walls was sometimes covered with sun-baked clay or daub.
Roofs were covered with thatch, with a small hole left in the middle to allow smoke to escape. Inside the houses the hearth dominated the center of the living space. Low benches used for sleeping and storage ringed the outer walls, while short partitions sometimes divided this outer space into compartments.
By today's standards Mississippian houses were quite small, ranging from twelve feet to thirty feet on a side. Organization of Society The Mississippian way of life was more than just an adaptation to the landscape—it was also a social structure. Mississippian Earthlodge Mississippian people were organized as chiefdoms or ranked societies.
Chiefdoms were a specific kind of human social organization with social ranking as a fundamental part of their structure. In ranked societies people belonged to one of two groupings, elites or commoners. Elites, who made up a relatively small percentage of chiefdom populations, had a higher social standing than commoners.
This difference between elites and commoners rested more on ideological and religious beliefs than on such things as wealth or military power. For example, the Natchez of Louisiana, who were still organized as a chiefdom during the early s, believed that their chief and his immediate family were descended from the sun, an important god to the Natchez.
It was believed that the Natchez chief, probably like most Mississippian chiefs, could influence the supernatural world and therefore had the ability to ensure that important events like the rising of the sun, spring rains, and the fall harvest came on time.
Because of these supernatural connections, elites received special treatment. They had larger houses and special clothing and food, and they were exempt from many of life's hard labors, like food production. The much more numerous commoners were the everyday producers of the society.
They grew food, made crafts, and served as warriors and as laborers for public works projects. Settlements King Site Map where periodic flooding replenished soil nutrients and kept their gardens productive. They lived in small villages and hamlets that rarely had more than a few hundred residents and in some areas also lived in single-family farms scattered across the landscape.
Although there was a great deal of variation across Georgia, a typical Mississippian village consisted of a central plaza, residential zone, and defensive structures. The plaza, located in the center of the town, served as a gathering place for many purposes, from religious to social.
Houses were built around the plaza and were often arranged around small courtyards that probably served the households of several related families.
Some, though not all, Mississippian villages also had defensive structures. Usually these took the form of a pole wall, known as a palisade; sometimes there was a ditch immediately outside the wall. These helped to keep unwelcome people and animals from entering the village.
Certain Mississippian towns featured mounds.The Mississippian Period in the midwestern and southeastern United States, which lasted from about A.D. to , saw the development of some of the most complex societies that .
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