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Ancient Chiefdoms of the Tombigbee, Ancient Chiefdoms of the Tombigbee, 0817306722, 0-8173-0672-2, 978-0-8173-0672-4, 9780817306724, , , Ancient Chiefdoms of the Tombigbee, 0817383085, 0-8173-8308-5, 978-0-8173-8308-4, 9780817383084,

Ancient Chiefdoms of the Tombigbee

Quality Paper
1993. 232 pp.
978-0-8173-0672-4
Price:  $29.95 s
E Book
2009. 232 pp.
978-0-8173-8308-4
Price:  $29.95 d

A Dan Josselyn Memorial Publication


Within the last 50 years archaeologists have discovered that around the 10th century A.D., native southeastern peoples began a process of cultural change far more complex than anything that had occurred previously. These late prehistoric societies—known as Mississippian—have come to be regarded as chiefdoms. The chiefdoms are of great anthropological interest because in these kinds of societies social hierarchies or rank and status were first institutionalized.


Ancient Chiefdoms of the Tombigbee focuses on both the small- and large-scale Mississippian societies in the Tombigbee-Black Warrior River region of Alabama and Mississippi. Exploring the relationships involving polity size, degree of social ranking, and resource control provides insights into cycles of chiefdom development and fragmentation. Blitz concludes that the sanctified, security maintenance roles of communal food storage management and war leadership were a sufficient basis for formal chiefly authority but insufficient for economically based social stratification.


John H. Blitz (Ph.D., City University of New York, 1991) is Associate Professor of Anthropology, Department of Anthropology, University of Alabama.

"This book stands as a fine example of how southeastern archaeologists are making increasingly important contributions to our understanding of the past and particualrly how social hierarchies evolved. The author himself deserves our thanks for bringing to light important primary information."
American Antiquity

"Readers will welcome Ancient Chiefdoms as a careful rethinking of the political, economic, and religious roles of leaders in small-scale Mississippian societies. The carefully controlled data from the Lubbub Creek site are a particularly valuable source of insights."
—Vernon James Knight Jr., University of Alabama

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