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MATERIALIZING CAHOKIA SHAMANS

Thomas E. Emerson
Southeastern Archaeology
Vol. 22, No. 2 (Winter 2003), pp. 135-154
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/40713282
Page Count: 20
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MATERIALIZING CAHOKIA SHAMANS
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Abstract

This article examines the iconographic and symbolic ramifications of a number of carved flint clay figure pipes manufactured at the large pre-Columbian center of Cahokia during the twelfth century. Shamanistic practices are generally accepted as underlying the religious systems of virtually all native societies of the New World. This shamanic core includes a number of commonalties, such as altered states of consciousness, ritual accoutrements, spirit helpers, soul flight, and animal and gender transformations. Motifs on some Cahokia effigy pipes represent many of these shamanic practices, indicating that shamanic practices comprised a significant aspect of early Cahokian religious activities and organization.

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