The Woodland Period (ca. 1200 B.C. to A.D. 1000) has been the subject of a great deal of archaeological research over the past 25 years. Researchers have learned that in this approximately 2000-year era the peoples of the Southeast experienced increasing sedentism, population growth, and organizational complexity. At the beginning of the period, people are assumed to have been living in small groups, loosely bound by collective burial rituals. But by the first millennium A.D., some parts of the region had densely packed civic ceremonial centers ruled by hereditary elites. Maize was now the primary food crop. Perhaps most importantly, the ancient animal-focused and hunting-based religion and cosmology were being replaced by solar and warfare iconography, consistent with societies dependent on agriculture, and whose elites were increasingly in competition with one another. This volume synthesizes the research on what happened during this era and how these changes came about while analyzing the period's archaeological record. In gathering the latest research available on the Woodland Period, the editors have included contributions from the full range of specialists working in the field, highlighted major themes, and directed readers to the proper primary sources. Of interest to archaeologists and anthropologists, both professional and amateur, this will be a valuable reference work essential to understanding the Woodland Period in the Southeast.
David G. Anderson is an archaeologist with the National Park Service's Southeast Archeological Center in Tallahassee, Florida, and author of The Paleoindian and Early Archaic Southeast. Robert C. Mainfort Jr. is an archaeologist with the Arkansas Archeological Survey in Fayetteville.