Theses and Dissertations

Issuing Body

Mississippi State University


Miller, D. Shane

Committee Member

Peacock, Evan

Committee Member

Hardin, James W.

Date of Degree


Document Type

Graduate Thesis - Open Access


Applied Anthropology

Degree Name

Master of Arts


College of Arts and Sciences


Department of Anthropology and Middle Eastern Cultures


Native American societies in the Yazoo Basin during the Mississippian Period (ca. 1000 – 1700 A.D.) extensively built platform mounds often associated with “elite” or “sacred” areas, and exotic or energy expensive artifacts. Excessive energy expenditure, or “waste” behaviors, may be explained with costly signaling and bet-hedging, hypotheses stemming from evolutionary theory. I argue that costly signaling may best explain the waste evident in hierarchical and agricultural Mississippian Period societies of the Mississippi Valley. Consequently, I feel that differing levels of energy expenditure may be evident from the remains of perishable construction excavated from mound summits and off-mound contexts. During that time, wattle and daub was a common method of wall construction in the Yazoo Basin, leaving abundant evidence at Mississippian sites. By studying imprints from preserved daub fragments, the use of specific construction methods can be compared between mound and non-mound contexts and relative energy expenditure assessed.



Wattle and Daub||Native American Architecture||Mississippian Period Archaeology||Prehistoric Archaeology||Yazoo Basin||Giant River Cane