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Cartwright, Carol Lohry; Shaffer, Scott; Waller, Randal / City on the Rock River : chapters in Janesville's history
(1998)

1. Prehistoric and historic Native American occupation,   pp. 1-42


Page 9

for temples and the houses of high-status individuals. As in many Mesoamerican sites, these
platform mounds were clustered around plazas. The larger Mississippian centers were highly
organized as complex chiefdoms that may have been led by priestly leaders. Mississippian
material culture was complex and included shell-tempered ceramics displaying highly
ritualized motifs. Status goods were secured by a wide network of trade between chiefdoms.
Warfare also seems to have flourished at this time. The chiefdoms were based on an economy
of intensive maize-bean-squash horticulture.
Wisconsin apparently marked the northern limits of the Mississippian expansion from centers
in the middle Mississippi Valley. The site of Aztalan in Jefferson County is the northernmost
known Mississippian town. Aside from Aztalan, evidence for the Mississippian Tradition in
Wisconsin is limited to a scattering of trade vessels and unsubstantiated reports of platform
mounds that no longer exist. No Mississippian sites have been positively reported for Rock
County. If shell-tempered ceramics exist in museum and private collections, these may relate to
Mississippian trade vessels. They are more likely, however, associated with Oneota Tradition
vessels.
The Oneota Tradition overlaps the Effigy Mound and Mississippian traditions both temporally
and spatially. Oneota Tradition sites have been found in Wisconsin, Iowa, Illinois, Minnesota,
Kansas, Nebraska, and Missouri. This tradition apparently developed from a Woodland base
influenced by the emerging and expanding Mississippian peoples. Oneota characteristics
include semi-sedentary villages, extended burials, shell-tempered pottery, and an economy
The vicinity of Azlatan, east of Lake Mills in Jefferson County, in 1878.
Prehistoric and Historic Native American Occupation
9


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