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The Characteristics of the Mississippian Civilization

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1 The Characteristics of the Mississippian Civilization
MISSIPPIAN CULTURE The Characteristics of the Mississippian Civilization

2 HISTORY The term Mississippian refers to an urban civilization that flourished in eastern North America between the years c. 900 and 1400. It was the last major prehistoric cultural development in North America In the early 1400s, before the arrival of Europeans, the civilization mysteriously vanished.

3 Mississippian Culture
The culture spread along the rivers to many parts of what is now the central and eastern United States. The Mississippian culture was the only known pre-Columbian urban civilization to develop in the Americas north of what is now Mexico. Whether they made human sacrifices remains unclear, it appears the deaths were part of a theatrical ritual, and the roles seem to be mythical, possibly a retelling of the story of creation. Population centers were found in river basins, as their culture was sustained by the cultivation of crops. Towns were subordinate to other towns with more powerful Chief Priests; thus confederacies were established

4 GEOGRAPHY The Mississippians are also known as the Mound Builders, due to the enormous flat-topped temple mounds they constructed in the centers of their large, well-organized cities. Among the most important centers of Mississippian culture were Cahokia, Illinois; Moundville, Alabama; and Ocmulgee, Georgia The Mississippian Culture spanned from Wisconsin and Minnesota in the north, through Georgia to the south, and westward into the Great Plains

5 ECONOMICS The civilization engaged in trade with surrounding peoples as far away as the Rocky Mountains and the Atlantic coast. It was based on intensive cultivation of corn, beans, squash, and other crops. Craftwork was executed in copper, shell, stone, wood, and clay. The Mississippian typically lived along the banks of large rivers for both food, transportation and protection. These areas provided diversity in plant and animal life, fertile soil, and fresh water.

6 GOVERNMENT It is now generally believed that a form of chiefdom government operated within the Mississippian period. These chiefdoms, operating out of temple mound complexes, such as Moundville or Etowah, apparently controlled specific territories usually associated with a defined floodplain environment. In all probability, Mississippian chiefdoms controlled only small geographical areas and were in constant states of change because their power rested on fragile agricultural adaptations.

7 SOCIAL CLASSES Chiefs were responsible for the redistribution of food between outlying communities and the major community. Leaders lived in luxury and had many servants. Each large town dominated a group of satellite villages. Common people were simply buried while people of importance such as chiefs or gods were buried in great mounds.

8 Mound Builders Monks Mound was a large building that once stood atop the mound and is believed to have been the ceremonial home of the city’s ruler or an elite clan. Most of the mounds were not very tall, only 3 feet! Some were over 70 feet tall! Scholars estimate that it took over 82 years to build one super mound. The mounds were used for burial grounds Archeologists found ancient remains of toys, clothes, and bones in some mounds and nothing in others.

9 Monks Mound Where did the Mississippians go?
The Mississippians are a vanished culture. Scholars still do not know what happened to them!!

10 ACTIVITIES Strand One: History
Students will go through a National Geographic and find pictures of artifacts. They will paste them on a poster board. Students will create a time line of major events that took place in 1000 AD. Students will create a family tree of their family. They will be expected to go back at least four generations but an incentive will be given to the furthest tree. Students will write a story about how they would fight a battle if they were an Indian. How did the tribes communicate? Come up with your own language and trade with a partner.

11 ACTIVITIES Strand Two: People in societies
We will have a tribe day. We will dress up as if we were Indians, discuss what they ate as well. A guest speaker will come to the class. He will discuss the life of an Indian of that time. What did they wear? You draw it on poster board! If you were their medicine man, what would you give a guy with the flu? Vegetation patterns were not like they are today. If you had to plant a field what would you put where?

12 ACTIVITIES Strand Three: Geography
The students will build mounds with play doe. They will look similar to what the tribes would build. The students will map their territory. It will be done on a worksheet. Draw plants that are unique now but at that time they were very plentiful. The students will watch a movie on how they traveled from place to place. Pretend you are a weather man, what was the average weather in each season. Chart this on a poster.

13 ACTIVITIES Strand Four: Economics
Students will create posters of different food that was grown and sold for other goods. Students will use a barter system to trade with other classmates basic necessities. This is to show the importance of a plentiful crop. Did they get along with their neighboring tribes? Find out some economic contributions and chart them. If you lived in 1200 AD, what would you have if you were considered rich. There were no manufacturers at this time. Where did they get their necessities from, label this on a poster

14 ACTIVITIES Strand Five: Government
We live in a democracy. Create a venn diagram that compares and contrast our government and theirs. Women can vote in Americas, cold the always vote? What role did women play in society? Were all men hunters? Create a chart that shows the various jobs of men in the tribe. We know they were mound builders. Why did they create these large piles of earth? This will be done in groups and you will have to give a 4min speech. Have a debate over who killed the deer. You and another tribe member both shot at the same time. You have to act out a debate that could have taken place during those time periods.

15 ACTIVITIES Strand Six: Citizenship rights and responsibilities.
What were the jobs of children? Compare them to the jobs you do. How did they get ready for winter, summer? Show on a poster the work that was needed. You cannot consume alcohol until you are 21. It was not always like this. What role did alcohol play for the tribes? Show on poster board. Many games were played. Re-create one for the class. Dress up like a chief, tell characteristics of a chief.

16 ACTIVITIES Strand Seven: Social studies skills and methods
Lecture- I tell the students facts. Field trip- we all go to an Indian cite, they get hands on information. Group presentations- the group will teach the class Dress up day- we learn their culture and heritage through their dress. Movie day- we learn through the movie representations and on cite viewing.

17 ACTIVITIES Strand Eight: Science technology and society
Students will create a Power Point over mound formations. Students will copy and paste pictures of artifacts. Students will create a bibliography for educational websites based on Mississippian Civilizations. Students will create a group video, choosing one part of the civilization to recreate. Students will tape record a Native American.

18 ANNOTATED WEBSITES Title: Mississippian Civilization ( A.D.) Southern region This website provided great pictures and information on artifacts from the civilization. It could be used for useful research in the classroom. Title: Definition of Mississippian civilization   This website provides great information about the history of the civilization. It is a great website to start the students learning about the Mississippians.

19 ANNOTATED WEBSITES Title: Workin' on a mound gang
This website provides great descriptions and visual representations of how the different mounds looked like during the Mississippian era. The students can use this website to help them create their own mounds. Title: The Mississippian Culture: The Mound builders at Ocmulgee This website provides virtual tours of the mounds, while also providing great details about each different type of mound.

20 ANNOTATED WEBSITE Title: Webquest for the Mississippian Civilization
This website offers numerous resources and links for students to research about this culture.

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