2LocationMississippian civilizations existed between CE. They built their cities in North America, along the Mississippi River.The most famous Mississippian civilization was located in what is present day Cahokia, Illinois in the United States.The Mississippians traveled throughout the Mississippi River Basin, and archaeologists have discovered that they created an elaborate network of trade throughout that part of North America.Mississippian settlements along the Mississippi River
3GovernmentMost Mississippians lived in a type of society called a chiefdom. Chiefdoms are societies in which people are ranked according to the family they belong to. Some families have higher status than others. In chiefdoms, the ruler usually comes from a high-status family and has more privileges than ordinary people. Chiefs can be compared to kings but they are not as powerful. Chiefs lived on platform mounds, which were elevated, and separate from ordinary houses. A platform mound, which requires more work to build than a single family home, is a sign that a chief lived in that location or very nearby.Mississippian chiefs may have looked like this.
4ReligionThe Mississippians built religious temples atop some of the burial mounds. Although it’s difficult to tell exactly what type of religion the Mississippians had, since they left behind no written language, a great deal can be learned about their religion from the artwork that they left behind. Because they relied on the earth for their food, the Mississippian’s religion seems to be tied closely to nature. Images of animals, birds, fish, frogs, plants, and humans have been found throughout religious sites. Statues of kneeling figures indicate that the Mississippians worshipped at the mounds.Religious temples were built at the top of the mounds.
5AgricultureBecause the Mississippians lived along the Mississippi River Valley, they took advantage of the excellent, high fertility soils of the natural levees. An added benefit was the availability of fish from the rivers.These ancient Americans grew maize (corn) squash, gourds, and beans. Their domesticated animals included turkeys, for food, and dogs, as pets.They even invented tools, such as digging sticks, to help make their farming easier. Archaeologists have unearthed tools, such as hoes, that the Mississippians used to till the soil.Maize was an important crop for the Mississippians.
6ContributionsThe main contributions of the Mississippians culture were their great artistic creations. The Mississippians were skilled artisans. Archaeologists have discovered countless hand-made creations that the Mississippians left behind, ranging from arrowheads, clay pots, sculptures, and jewelry, many of which were painted by these early Americans.And don’t forget the mounds themselves, many of which are still standing today. Each year thousands of tourists take scenic visits to Mississippian burial mounds to marvel at the many creations of the ancient Mississippians.Above: Mississippian bottleBelow: A statue of a two-headed dog