Clues to Lower Mississippi Valley Histories


Clues to Lower Mississippi Valley Histories

Language, Archaeology, and Ethnography

David V. Kaufman

258 pages
3 photographs, 9 illustrations, 2 maps, 16 tables, 1 appendix, index


October 2020


$30.00 Add to Cart

August 2019


$75.00 Add to Cart
eBook (PDF)
Ebook purchases delivered via Leaf e-Reader

August 2019


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About the Book

2019 Choice Outstanding Academic Title
In Clues to Lower Mississippi Valley Histories David V. Kaufman offers a stunning relational analysis of social, cultural, and linguistic change in the Lower Mississippi Valley from 500 to 1700. He charts how linguistic evidence aids the understanding of earlier cultural and social patterns, traces the diaspora of indigenous peoples, and uncovers instances of human migration. Historical linguistics establishes evidence of contact between indigenous peoples in the linguistic record where other disciplinary approaches have obscured these connections.

The Mississippi Valley is the heartland of early North American civilizations, a rich and diversified center of transportation for every part of eastern North America and to Mesoamerica. The Lower Mississippi Valley region emerged as the home of the earliest mound-building societies in the Americas and was home to some of the most impressive kingdoms encountered by Spanish and French explorers. The languages of the region provide the key to the realities experienced by these indigenous peoples, their histories, and their relationships. Clues to Lower Mississippi Valley Histories focuses on relationships that constitute what linguists call a sprachbund (language union), or language area. Kaufman illuminates and articulates these linguistic relationships through a skillful examination of archaeological and ethnohistorical data.

Clues to Lower Mississippi Valley Histories examines the relationship between linguistics and archaeology to elucidate the early history of the Lower Mississippi Valley.

Author Bio

David V. Kaufman is an independent researcher and scholar focusing on indigenous language documentation, revitalization, and language contact. 


"In Clues to Lower Mississippi Valley Histories, Kaufman, an independent researcher who focuses on indigenous language documentation, revitalization, and language contact, uses linguistic evidence to provide an enlightening account of the social and cultural history of this area. Well written and comprehensive, this volume traces the linguistic and trade ties between the Lower Mississippi Valley and other settlements, most notably Cahokia near present-day St. Louis, which was larger even than London at the time. Detailing the influence of Cahokia on the trade routes and language of the Lower Mississippi Valley, this work suggests an even larger network of cultural exchange, spanning as far north as the Ohio Valley and as far south as the Valley of Mexico. Scholars will appreciate the detailed accounts of the many indigenous languages that have sadly been nearly lost in terms of present-day active speakers, making this a useful resource for those working to revitalize these languages. This text is a feast of information for students in Native American studies, archaeology, history, anthropology, and linguistics."—B. E. Johansen, Choice

"Clues to Lower Mississippi Valley Histories effectively employs multiple sources of information to provide innovative insights in the culture and linguistic history of the LMV."—Colin M. Betts, Journal of the Iowa Archeological Society

Clues to Lower Mississippi Valley Histories assembles a wide range of information about the peoples, cultures, migrations, archeological traditions, and languages of the area called the Lower Mississippi Valley. Scholars will welcome the compilation and analysis of so many interrelated aspects of this area.”—Marcia Haag, professor of linguistics at the University of Oklahoma

Clues to Lower Mississippi Valley Histories offers a composite portrait of the past based on evidence from linguistics, ethnography, and history, while shedding light on the movement of ideas across linguistic and cultural boundaries. As such, it provides a compelling reconsideration of life in the Mississippi Valley, an area that has attracted broad public interest for generations.”—Sean O’Neill, associate professor of anthropology at the University of Oklahoma

Table of Contents

List of Illustrations
List of Tables
List of Abbreviations
Part 1. Geography, Archaeology, Peoples, and Languages
1. Geography and Environment
2. Archaeology and History
3. Peoples, Migrations, and Languages
Part 2. Language Contact
4. Language Contact
5. Phonetic and Phonological Features
6. Morphological Features
7. Word Borrowings and Calques
Appendix: Sample Texts from the LMV

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