Thesis: «Mississippian Period (1000 – 1700 A.D.) Wattle and Daub Construction in the Yazoo Basin»

Harris W. D. (2020), Mississippian Period (1000 – 1700 A.D.) Wattle and Daub Construction in the Yazoo Basin: Comparing Energy Expenditure Using Context and Construction Methods, Thesis Submitted to the Faculty of Mississippi State University, 182 p.


Native American societies in the Yazoo Basin during the Mississippian Period (ca. 1000  –   1700 A.D.) extensively built platform mounds often associated with “elite” or “sacred” areas, and exotic or energy expensive artifacts. Excessive energy expenditure, or “waste” behaviors, may be explained with costly signaling and bet-hedging, hypotheses stemming from evolutionary theory. I argue that costly signaling may best explain the waste evident in hierarchical and agricultural Mississippian Period societies of the Mississippi Valley. Consequently, I feel that differing levels of energy expenditure may be evident from the remains of perishable construction excavated from mound summits and off-mound contexts. During that time, wattle and daub was a common method of wall construction in the Yazoo Basin, leaving abundant evidence at Mississippian sites. By studying imprints from preserved daub fragments, the use of specific construction methods can be compared between mound and non-mound contexts and relative energy expenditure assessed.

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