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Mississippian Trade - The "Global Economy" of the Eastern Woodlands

Sites with Ramey-incised and Powell plain ceramics: evidence of socioeconomic interaction with the Mississippian people of the American Bottom.

Sites with Long-nosed god masks: Shared art style? Shared religious beliefs or cult? Or evidence of the sociopolitical domination of Cahokia?

The Mississippian world of Cahokia -- its global economic sphere -- can be delineated by the presence of artifacts and stylistic elements with Cahokia affinities outside of the American Bottom, and by the locations of sources of exotic materials from which artifacts found in the American Bottom were made.

From a few floodplain sites on the eastern plains of present day Iowa, Minnesota, and Wisconsin archaeologists have recovered a smattering of pots, points, pipes, and ornaments with strong Cahokia affinities Ramey incised vessel from western Iowa Ramey Incised and Powell Plain ceramics also occur in the large mound center of Spiro, Oklahoma, as well as mound sites in the Lower Mississippi River valley such as Winterville and Lake George Mississippi. Another item with strong ties to the American Bottom Mississippian, the Long-Nosed God Masks are found as far away as northeastern Florida. The northernmost Mississippian mound site of Aztalan is located in central Wisconsin. Catlinite, a material for pipes, was mined in the upper midwest. Flintclay, a favourite material for figurines and pipes is also found in the Ozarks. Galena, or lead ore, and copper also are known to have originated from the upper midwest and Great Lakes region. Other lead sources are found in the Ozarks just west and southwest of the American Bottom. Mica from as far away as central Appalachia was used for elite decorative items found in the American Bottom. Finally, marine shell used in the manufacture of ornaments came from the Gulf of Mexico and the mid-Atlantic coast.

Map of the Aztalan site, Wisconsin - an outpost of Cahokia?.

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