Edited by Jon L. Gibson and Philip J. Carr
“This volume aptly illustrates the very complex nature of Archaic societies that constructed the earliest earthworks in the New World and sets their activities in the broader context of their times.”—John Kelly, Washington University in St. Louis
By focusing on the first instances of mound building, pottery making, and the widespread cultural exchange of polished or chipped stone and bone tools, this book explores the sources of power and organization among Archaic societies. In Signs of Power, regional specialists seek to identify the conditions, causes, and consequences of Archaic sociopolitical organization and complexity. Sometimes referred to as “big mound power,” these considerations include the role of demography, kinship, and ecology in sociocultural change; the meaning of geometry and design in sacred constructions; the social implications of particular stone and bone objects; the relationship between reciprocity and mound building; the meaning of shell ring size and shape on social inequality; and the bearing of long-distance exchange on organization. Throughout the book, authors wrestle with the issue of how materiality and organizational complexity are related.