2006 Walls as Symbols of Political, Economic, and Military Might. In Leadership and Polity in Mississippian Society, edited by Brian M. Butler and Paul D. Welch, pp. 115-141. Center for Archaeological Investigations, Southern Illinois University, Carbondale
During the eleventh century A.D., the frequency with which stout walls were constructed around settlements began to increase across the Eastern Woodlands. While some of the large Mississippian mound sites in the Southeast and southern Midwest were protected with substantial enclosures studded with bastions, other mound sites lacked these features. Typically associated with warfare, such walls reflect vertical integration involving regional elites as they vied for adherents, struggled to establish and maintain alliances, cultivated and enhanced the sanctity of chiefly office, and attempt- ed to augment their prestige and expand their spheres of influence through the use of coercive force and the construction of monuments; the walls also manifest horizontal forms of integration involving followers and allies who weighed the benefits and costs associated with a loss of autonomy in such a contentious social landscape. The implications of village fortification for the ascent, attrition, transformation, and eventual dissolution of chiefly power are explored using a case example from the lower Tennessee River valley in western Kentucky.