The Cahokian Culture: The Key to Understanding Mortuary Rituals and Status Indicators

The Cahokian Culture: The Key to Understanding Mortuary Rituals and Status Indicators

Document details
Category: Anthropology Essay
Subcategory: Cultural Anthropology
Words: 2035
Pages: 7

Cahokia is an Eastern North American site near the Mississippi River that was built during the 11th to 13th century (Pauketat, 1998). During its height of power, Cahokia was the most influential city north of Mexico (Iseminger, 1996). The Cahokian culture is the key to understanding their mortuary rituals and status indicators. Baltus and Baires (2011) discuss that Cahokia was a religious and political state through which power is obtained by ancient deities those who interacted with the dead. Gathering the dead in mounds and creating new ancestors was a show of religious power which allowed individuals to continue into the next world and become ancestors or gods (Baltus and Baires, 2011). By looking at burial goods and diet through bone analysis, a lot can be interpreted about the social organization the Cahokians created. Societal differences can be seen in the archaeological record by interpreting goods such as clothing, jewelry or decorative belongings. Bone is also another telling feature in determining class differences in a society. The health of an individual differs between classes due to the diet available because of wealth and or status in the society. Mound 72 is a great example of societal structure in mortuary practices. It is one of the eight ridge top mounds constructed around 1000 AD and the presence of an all female sacrificial burial indicates that it was built as a ritual ceremony (Thompson, 2013). BURIAL GOODSHow a society is structured can be viewed through many factors such as material remains and mortuary practices. First by looking at burial goods and mortuary practices one can determine which burials are of higher or lower status. The way an individual is buried is very telling of society practices and how important that person was in the society. Wealth or lack of it can be seen in burials. Hedman (2006) noticed that social inequalities were indeed conveyed in burials through...

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