Coles Creek Period Social Organization and Evolution in Northeast Louisiana

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Abstract

Coles Creek culture is known for the numerous multi-mound sites scattered across the Lower Mississippi Valley. Traditionally these people are thought to be corn agriculturalists with a chiefdom level sociopolitical organization. Evidence from recent excavations has challenged prevailing concepts about Coles Creek subsistence and social organization. Maize agriculture was not as important as it was once thought. Furthermore, the development of complex social entities appears late in the Coles Creek sequence. Although they do not manifest many of the classic traits of chiefdom level societies, it is evident from several lines of archaeological evidence that Coles Creek populations living in northeast Louisiana underwent organizational changes in the last decades of the first millennium A.D. with the end result being the formation of simple elite polities.

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