Markin, Julie Gayle
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This dissertation explores the cultural changes experienced by the inhabitants of northern Georgia during the Woodstock phase (A.D. 800 to 1000). Woodstock subsistence and settlement data provide the foundation for understanding the rise of political complexity (e.g. the Etowah chiefdom) in north Georgia in the Mississippian period, an issue that has been greatly overlooked to this point. The results of my research allow for the construction of a developmental history for the Etowah chiefdom. The Woodstock phase witnessed a dramatic increase in the ubiquity of maize, the addition of new vessel forms in multiple sizes, and a diversification in vessel forms in general. These changes suggest an indigenous response to changes in food preparation and consumption practices related to maize production. Polities of Mississippian chiefdoms were based around administrative centers that often exhibited platform mound and plaza construction. An absence of administrative centers in Woodstock site clusters suggests that in north Georgia the initial stage of polity development involved the coalescence of equally powerful settlements into defined territorial entities. Data generated from this research suggest the evolution of political complexity involved fundamental changes in subsistence regimes and political organization.