Cahokia: Domination and Ideology in the Mississippian World

By Timothy R. Pauketat; Thomas E. Emerson | Go to book overview

James M. Collins


7
Cahokia Settlement and
Social Structures as Viewed
from the ICT-II

Archaeologists can conceive profitably of settlement patterns in terms of three levels. The first and most basic of these is the individual building or structure; the second, the manner in which these structures are arranged within a single community; and the third, the manner in which communities are distributed over the landscape.

Bruce G. Trigger, in Settlement Archaeology

In 1985 and 1986, more than one-half hectare of the Cahokia site was excavated in an area just southeast of the Central Ceremonial Precinct prior to the construction of the modern site interpretive center.1 This area has come to be known as the Interpretive Center Tract-Location II, or more commonly the ICT-11 (figure 7.1). More than five hundred features, including more than seventy domestic structures inferred to represent the remains of eighteen individual “archaeological households,” comprise the database for the following discussion. Elsewhere, a functional classification for features at the ICT-II has been explicitly defined (Collins 1990, 46–102). This classification includes seven categories: (1) pits of indeterminate function; (2) cache and storage pits; (3) fire-related features; (4) postmolds and post-pits: (5) enclosed wall-trench structures; (6) other structures; and (7) miscellaneous other features (butchering stations, borrow areas, etc). These seven major classes were further divided into twenty-seven subclasses.

Recently, feature-pattern interpretations equivalent to Winter's (1976) concept of the “household cluster” have found broad acceptance by archae-

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