Landscapes of Ritual Performance in Eastern North America [Paperback]

Cheryl Claassen (Editor)

ISBN: 9781789259292 | Published by: Oxbow Books | Series: American Landscapes | Volume: 8 | Year of Publication: 2023 | Language: English 256p, H246 x W185 (mm) 55 B/W images

Landscapes of Ritual Performance in Eastern North America


In the long history of documenting the material culture of the archaeological record, meaning and actions of makers and users of these items is often overlooked. The authors in this book focus on rituals exploring the natural and made landscape stages, the ritual directors, including their progression from shaman to priesthood, and meaning of the rites. They also provide comments on the end or failure of rites and cults from Paleoindian into post-DeSoto years.

Chapters examine the archaeological records of Cahokia, the lower Ohio Valley, Aztalan Wisconsin, Vermont, Florida, and Georgia, and others scan the Eastern US, investigating tobacco/datura, colour symbolism, deer symbolism, mound stratigraphy, flintknapping, stone caching, cults and their organisation, and red ochre. These authors collectively query the beliefs that can be gleaned from mortuary practices and their variation, from mound construction, from imagery, from the choice of landscape setting. While some rituals were short-lived, others can be shown to span millennia as the ritual specialists modified their interpretations and introduced innovations.

Table of Contents

List of contributors
1 The Ritual Complex
Cheryl Claassen
Part 1: Cults and Rituals
2 The Old Fire-Deer Spirits cult in the Archaic Period of eastern North America
Cheryl Claassen
3 Priestesses and priests, temples and goddesses: structuring and centering ritual in early Cahokian religious landscapes
Thomas E. Emerson
4 Continuity, resilience, and transformation in Choctaw ritual practice
David H. Dye
5 Places of stone and skill: an exploration of Paleoindian and Early Archaic rituals and ritual practitioners in northeastern North America
Francis “Jess” Robinson
6 Watchfires above the wetwoods: late Middle Archaic mortuary ritual and landscape in the Falls of the Ohio region
Anne Tobbe Bader
7 Persons of the Directions: ontology and ethics meet cosmology in understanding the world views and rituals of Adena, Hopewell, and Postcontact eastern Woodland Indian societies
Christopher Carr
8 Set, setting, and sacra: eastern North America’s tobacco shamans and the New World narcotic complex
Bobi Deere
9 Figured practices: the material heritage of ritual in the Great Lakes region
William Fox and Neal Ferris
Part 2: Landscape, Shrines, and Pilgrimage
10 Portals through the spirit world: precontact ceremonial cave use in the American Southeast
Jan F. Simek, Beau Duke Carroll, and Alan Cressler
11 Rituals of stone: Native American use of stone in the southeastern US
James R. Wettstaed and Johannes H. N. Loubser
12 Revisiting Aztalan: looking at ritual from several perspectives
Lynne Goldstein, Sissel Schroeder, and Donald Gaff
13 Sacred journeys in the greater Cahokia region
B. Jacob Skousen
14 Paths of the lightning arrow: the Apalachee ballgame and the persistence of landscapes
Jesse C. Nowak and Charles T. Rainville

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