Section Seven: Introduction to Mississippian Cultures
Between about A.D. 700 and 900, people living in the central Mississippi River valley developed a lifestyle that archaeologists call Mississippian. These people adapted to conditions that occur in parts of the river valley. Natural levees of fertile soil that rose above the river's banks made ideal sites for villages and gardens. Beyond the levees, ox-bow lakes (remnants of earlier river channels) supplied fish that were easily caught. Ducks and geese migrated through the valley during the spring and fall. Nut-bearing trees and gamy were plentiful in the uplands beyond the valley.
Mississippian farmers raised the same crops as their Woodland ancestors. However, they relied more and more on corn, squash, and beans. Because their food supply could support more people, their villages grew in size and density. Yet they had to move to new sites, perhaps every 10 years, as their soil became less fertile.