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Dr. Mary Simon presents “New Perspectives on the History of Maize in the Interior Midwest”

October 26, 2017 @ 6:30 pm - 8:00 pm

At one time, maize histories in the interior Midwestern United States were thought to begin at about 100 B.C. and to increase gradually through time. Recent research by archaeologists at the Illinois State Archaeological Survey working in the American Bottom and western Illinois regions has invalidated that model. We now know that, in this part of the Midwest, subsistence-level maize cultivation was initiated abruptly at about A.D 900 and increased rapidly over the following centuries. Further, newly introduced practices of maize cultivation and processing were important in facilitating the societal reorganization that culminated in the rapid development of the vast and complex, Mississippian Period Cahokian polity at about AD 1050. This presentation outlines the ongoing archaeobotanical, archaeological and isotopic research that supports this new model. We contend that maize should not only be recognized as having had a key role in providing subsistence security but also that it was also adopted into existing ritual by Mississippian groups who did who did not view ritual and subsistence as separate, unrelated systems.

Dr. Simon will be here for several events throughout the week of October 25th. Check simon.anthropology.msu.edu for a full listing of events.

Simon’s visit is supported and sponsored by the Alumni and Friends Expendable Fund for Archaeology


October 26, 2017
6:30 pm - 8:00 pm
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Department of Anthropology