By Christine Kinealy
A concise, lucid and nuanced method of Ireland's advanced and engaging historical past.
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Additional resources for A New History of Ireland
In the American Bottom near St. Louis, Woodland people settled in stable villages. The American Bottom is a rich alluvial plain near the confluence of the Mississippi and Missouri Rivers that is 25 miles long from north to south and 11 miles at its widest. On this fertile land, Native Americans built huts with foundations below ground so as to provide coolness in the summer and warmth in the winter. In the next couple hundred years, in what is known as the Emergent Mississippian period, a plaza became the central feature in the village of Cahokia.
The chief and other elites lived on mounds closer to the world above in contrast to the common people who lived at ground level on the flat terrain of the American Bottom. The iconography that appeared on artifacts reflected these dual worlds. The sun’s rays or birds of prey represented the upper world, and snakes, frogs, and fish corresponded to the lower world. Mississippian people believed that beavers, owls, and cougars inhabited both worlds. This dualism was found within the burial site at Mound 72.
The chief did not militarily dominate any of these areas, but the exchange network provided a form of kinship ties that bound elites in a village or another chiefdom with Cahokia. Individual farmsteads spread up and down the Mississippi and other tributaries from Cahokia for a hundred miles. These farmsteads were permanent residences of one to two buildings. Their inhabitants grew their own food and stored their surpluses in interior pits. Politically, they owed allegiance to a local chief at a mound center.
A New History of Ireland by Christine Kinealy