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Mississippian Culture

            The last pre-historic cultural development in North America was the Mississippian Culture, thriving from approximately 800 AD until the arrival of European explorers. The Mississippian Culture spanned from Wisconsin and Minnesota in the north, through Georgia to the south, and westward into the Great Plains. These people enjoyed an intricate system of trading, were accomplished artisans, and practiced sophisticated religious beliefs. The Mississippian Culture lasted until just after the coming of Hernando De Soto and his Spanish fortune hunters in the mid-16th century. The Mississippian culture is best known for the mounds they built as burial places and as platforms to hold temples and the houses of chiefs. .
             For more than half a millennium, the Mississippian people successfully cultivated vast agricultural settlements based on corn, squash and beans. However, the Mississippians were much more than prosperous farmers. They also developed a complex and highly organized culture based on a ritualistic relationship between the people and the land. The largest and most notable being the Cahokia mounds in present-day Collinsville, Illinois. Through archaeological investigations, it is found that the most common site type is the single-family farmstead. Material remains from excavated farmsteads provide us with the evidence that indicates that the bulk of a family's work time was spent on subsistence, particularly farming, and residence maintenance. There also is much evidence that each farmstead was economically self-sufficient.
             Very similar to most Native American tribes, story telling and oral histories were important components of family and community education. Sons and daughters were educated in the social and cultural ways of the group and learned about there ancestors through the stories of the elderly.
             For the most part, most villagers" daily lives differed little from the typical farmstead household - farming and household maintenance dominated most family activities, but the villagers and townsfolk had much more access to the religious, and socio-political activities, and also direct communication with the elite decision-makers.

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