Time and archaeological traditions in the lower Illinois valley

Jason L. King, Jane Buikstra, Douglas K. Charles

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


The issue of time remains a crucial one in Lower Illinois Valley archaeology, and key problems remain unresolved. In this paper, new radiocarbon assays and published dates are used to test hypotheses concerning intra-site bluff top mound chronologies, timing and structure of valley settlement, and the emergence of regional symbolic communities during the Middle Woodland period (ca. 50 cal B.C.-calA.D. 400). We show that within sites Middle Woodland mounds were constructed first on prominent, distal bluff ridges and subsequently in less-visible spaces, though additional dates are needed to fully understand intra-site chronology. Our analyses generally support previous studies suggesting a north-to-south settlement trajectory of the valley, though habitation site dates indicate a more complicated pattern of regional occupation that has yet to be fully explicated. In addition, floodplain regional symbolic communities also emerged along a north-to-south pattern, though not as rapidly as bluff crest mounds. Importantly, results indicate future areas of research necessary to elucidate regional chronology, resettlement of the valley, and community interactions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)500-528
Number of pages29
JournalAmerican Antiquity
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jul 2011

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • History
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Archaeology
  • Museology


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