Winter Lecture Series February 18
The second installment of the series takes place on February 18 at 2:00 pm in the Interpretive Center Auditorium. In this presentation, Dr. David Dye, Professor of Archaeology in the Department of Earth Sciences, University of Memphis, will present, “The Lower Mississippi Valley Dark Ages: Deities, Rituals, and Trade”. When the Hernando de Soto expedition crossed the Mississippi River in 1541, they discovered numerous towns and extensive fields scattered along meandering rivers and oxbow lakes. However, Marquette and Joliet, in their descent of the river in 1673, found an empty land devoid of the once prosperous chiefdoms, with the exception of the recently arrived Quapaw. The years sandwiched between the Spanish conquistadores and French explorers has been a poorly known “Dark Age” for archaeologists. On-going analysis of locally crafted ritual ceramics and introduced exotic goods, especially marine shell and symbolic weaponry, is beginning to help unveil the Lower Mississippi Valley’s turbulent history. In this talk, Dye argues for links with the early fur trade, which transformed Mississippian society, but also contained the seeds for its demise by the mid-seventeenth century.