Title

Comparisons of Relative Frequencies between Ancient Mississippian Crops to Modern-Day North American Agriculture

Academic Level at Time of Presentation

Junior

Major

Archaeology

Minor

Spanish, Biology

List all Project Mentors & Advisor(s)

Haluk Cetin, PhD, Alex Cline

Presentation Format

Poster Presentation

Abstract/Description

Ancient Mississippian Indians, who settled and continually occupied mideastern United States from 700CE until contact, were very proficient farmers. Archaeological records indicate the relative frequencies of different crops cultivated in these areas at these times by Mississippians. This project seeks to assess the relative frequencies of New World-native crops cultivated today in the northern, central, and southern Mississippian lands (central Illinois, western Kentucky, and northern Mississippi). Relative frequencies were taken using a supervised classification in ERDAS Imagine performed on a sample taken from a land cover map of each of these three areas. Image files were downloaded from the USGS Earth Explorer. Then, comparing these relative frequencies with those found in the archaeological record, there can be strong inferences drawn about the proficiency of ancient native farmers and the knowledge they possess about how easily specific crops grown in certain temperatures and climates, and the proportion of New World crops to the total frequency of crops cultivated currently in these provides strong suggestions about the degree of integration of New World crops into Western (European) agriculture and the globalization of a world-based market economy.

Spring Scholars Week 2019 Event

Sigma Xi Poster Competition (Juried)

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Comparisons of Relative Frequencies between Ancient Mississippian Crops to Modern-Day North American Agriculture

Ancient Mississippian Indians, who settled and continually occupied mideastern United States from 700CE until contact, were very proficient farmers. Archaeological records indicate the relative frequencies of different crops cultivated in these areas at these times by Mississippians. This project seeks to assess the relative frequencies of New World-native crops cultivated today in the northern, central, and southern Mississippian lands (central Illinois, western Kentucky, and northern Mississippi). Relative frequencies were taken using a supervised classification in ERDAS Imagine performed on a sample taken from a land cover map of each of these three areas. Image files were downloaded from the USGS Earth Explorer. Then, comparing these relative frequencies with those found in the archaeological record, there can be strong inferences drawn about the proficiency of ancient native farmers and the knowledge they possess about how easily specific crops grown in certain temperatures and climates, and the proportion of New World crops to the total frequency of crops cultivated currently in these provides strong suggestions about the degree of integration of New World crops into Western (European) agriculture and the globalization of a world-based market economy.