Political Offices and Political Structure: Ethnohistoric and Archaeological Perspectives on the Native Lords of Apalachee



Ethnohistoric accounts of the Apalachee provide information about native political structure, and describe offices with a variety of political, military, and religious duties. Unfortunately, the Apalachee were transformed by incorporation into the Spanish colonial system, and the degree to which named offices correspond to precontact offices is unknown. Archaeological data suggest the existence of several offices in the late prehistoric Apalachee chiefdom, although we cannot address the nature and scope of authority and power tied to those offices. Although archaeological data provide little insight here, theoretical models suggest that the historic offices could have existed in similar form before contact.