Electronic Theses and Dissertations

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

M.A. in Anthropology


Sociology and Anthropology

First Advisor

Carolyn Freiwald

Second Advisor

Robbie Ethridge

Third Advisor

Jay K. Johnson

Relational Format



The Mississippian period in the American Southeast was a period of immense interaction between polities as a result of vast trade networks, regional mating networks which included spousal exchange, chiefdom collapse, and endemic warfare. This constant interaction is reflected not only in the cultural materials but also in the genetic composition of the inhabitants of this area. Despite constant interaction, cultural restrictions prevented polities from intermixing and coalescent groups under the same polity formed subgroups grounded in their own identity as a result unique histories (Harle 2010; Milner 2006). As a result, phenetic similarities and differences are not homogenized. In the Upper Yazoo River Basin, the Oliver site and the Hollywood reflect genetic similarities possibly as the result of being engaged in a regional mating network. This was determined through the analysis of 20 inheritable dental morphological traits from the Arizona State University (ASU) Plaque system which was developed by Scott and Tuner (1997) using 159 teeth from the Oliver site and 85 teeth from the Hollywood site. The Mean Measure of Divergence statistical method was chosen for this analysis in order to determine the genetic relatedness from the two sites. The MMD value suggests that the two sites are genetically related. Reasons for their biological similarity could be the result of being biological interaction on a regional scale within the Mississippian world and/or the result of the Woodland period abandonment at the Oliver site.



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