Archaeologists have been attempting to demonstrate social diversity in society through social difference. They attempted to demonstrate how these civilizations employed funerary practices to suggest the type of lives these deceased people led, as well as how the architecture of their homesteads revealed the disparities in social position and wealth within these societies. Additionally, the use of monuments to demonstrate the control of labor and resources, such as the creation of earthworks and pyramids as evidence of a small group’s ability to dominate the resources of a larger group, is common. The archeologists thought that the specialization in artwork caused heterogeneity of roles and function, however, this is not the case, it was realized that there have been changes in the Mississippi period of the Cahokia in the North America bottom region of Mississippi river valley that explains the status difference and craft production.
In (1200-1275 AD) period, there was, a what archeologists thought as a decline in leadership strategy but a change mostly in the Cahokia sequence specifically Moorehead. Before this, corporate leadership dominated in Cahokia society; however, that shifted to network leadership.
The comparison between corporate leadership and network
The purpose of this research was to find out how this leaders gain their power in this communities and societies. Using the dual process theory, this focuses on different strategy of leadership in complex society. It became clear that the leaders gain power either through staple to wealth or the group oriented to individual chiefdom. In the difference between corporate and the network leadership, the corporate leadership is shared amongst the group and families. The characteristics of leadership includes organizing of traditional events, collection of surplus food and the monumental, public construction and making economy and social difference seem irrelevant. While in the other hand, network strategy had, individual leaders, try to monopolize power, have a chain of supporters beyond family level and have the difference in life standards amongst its subjects noticed. These kind of leadership strategy are present in a range of different societies and sociopolitical e.g. tribes, chiefdom and states.
These two kinds of leadership coexisted in societies or sometimes may cycle over this type of leadership over time. With this difference in leadership also was social difference in terms of artwork and monument. Between Lohmann and Stirling phases and the Moorehead, there was an archeological evidence of shifting from corporate to network type of leadership indicating reduction in social complexity. Cahokia was the baseline representing a complex chiefdom in the Mississippi river valley currently known as the St. Louis Illinois highly populated and with complex constructions in around the AD 1050 Lohmann phase. This however took a turn in AD 1200 where the population of the Cahokia begun dropping.
The use of status differentiation in the Cahokia chiefdom brought the difference and population shift to this region. However, it is not easy to prove this archeologically. Using the cemetery treatment, the archeologists were able to identify elite or non-elite based on the types of artifacts present as grave goods, burial treatment, and mound or non- mound location as a representation of social difference. The elites where buried with expensive artifacts on there cemetery while the non-elites where buried on a plain cemetery. The use of Structures also indicated social difference; the wealthy families had big residence while the poor had small residence. The houses where also ranked based of the ceremonials structure or the residence of a high-ranking elite.
The also used artifacts to indicate the difference in social differences, The use of foreign materials decorated ceramic and the higher quality manufactured materials where indication of higher status. This high quality homestead grew with time as the phases changed. Comparing Cahokia with other sites in terms of artifacts, at the Lohmann period, they all stated at the same level, at stirling point, the other sites hit the highest peak compared Cahokia, then to the Moorhead phase, Cahokia hit the peak while the other sites dropped down.
In addition, the use of centralization of craft production is also an indication used to differentiate the social difference and leadership. In addition, specialization was used to strengthen the political and economic control. They also used the production of prestigious goods to indicate different ranks. Despite the fact that production of prestigious artifacts is an important part of growth, the evidence of production of this type of goods started late in the Cahokia region where they started working on artifacts and artworks. However, the production also went down with time. With the shell working, Cahokia started at the lower level but grew with time to the peak while the other sites started at the peak going down. In the Cahokia, the use of this shell business, lead to the growth of the network leadership where individuals used this as a power source. There were a number of artifacts in this time with shifting growth and fall depending with demand. This includes the Celts, discoidals, mineral, milk creek hoes, and marine shell.. However, most of these materials were from outside Cahokia. In addition, copper materials were rare in the Cahokia chiefdom but some artifacts made of these metals were also discovered in the burial areas. The change in mass material to a one-type material for the production of artifacts is an indication of network leadership.
Considering also the Changes in Public Architecture, this kind of changes were also based in the transition from one leadership to another, Mostly from the corporate to network; The mound construction in this time were places where communal ritual were performed, and succession. Some of these mounds were built on the surface of other structure. However, the construction of these mounds started in around the Lohmann phase onwards. The constructions through the Moorhead phase grew from small layers to thick layers. Then later the mounds were built in the public structures. Palisade constructions, however, become common to mound due the warfare.
There was also the change in population. At this time, calculations of population were based on work such as the number of labor present in a certain task. This population in Cahokia increased as the chiefdom grew to the Stirling phase, which was the reason for existence of Cahokia polity then started dropping. This was due to migration of people from bottomland to upland and the political centralization. However, the decrease in population did not have a big impact on the social complexity.
There was a huge change in the Moorhead phase however; this is the time the population declined, construction shifted from the mound woodHenge to the palisade, The political shifting from centralized to decentralized, this is the tie the Cahokia stated falling. The elites began involving themselves in the artifacts production. The leaders at this point tried to employ the network leadership to attract people as population was moving from the center.