One of the most venerable concepts in Southeastern archaeology is that of the Southern Cult. The idea has its roots in the intensely productive decade (archaeologically) of the 1930s and is fundamentally tied to yet another venerable concept - Mississippian culture. The last comprehensive study of the melding of these two concepts into the term Southeastern Ceremonial Complex (SECC) is more than two decades old, yet our understanding of the objects, themes, and artistic styles associated with the SECC have changed a great deal. This work presents new data and new ideas on the temporal and social contexts, artistic styles, and symbolic themes included in the complex. It also demonstrates that engraved shell gorgets, along with other SECC materials, were produced before A.D. 1400.