The Etowah site, located in Northwestern Georgia, was the home of a Mississippian period chiefdom that rose to prominence very rapidly during the Wilbanks phase. Using artifacts from the elite mortuary of Mound C, iconographers have argued that the florescence of Etowah during the Wilbanks phase (AD1250-1325) was based upon the importation of a new religion by a Cult-Bringer. This new religion served as a mythic charter for elite control and power. However, the Wilbanks Phase Etowah polity vanished in AD1325, and archaeologists have used indirect evidence to argue that warfare was the cause of its demise. Currently, no iconographic studies have focused attention on the occurrence of warfare or to the threat it would pose to elite power and dominance. This article argues that if warfare was truly endemic, then the elite mythical charter would have been adapted to reflect a greater emphasis on prowess in war and this would be visible in the iconography from the Etowah site. This research demonstrates that there is a clear transition in the iconography from general ideological symbols found on gorgets to sociotechnic weaponry. Furthermore, this shift can be linked temporally to the existing archaeological evidence for warfare.
LeDoux, Spencer C.
"The Fall of Etowah, A.D. 1375: Warfare in the Iconographic Record,"
Field Notes: A Journal of Collegiate Anthropology: Vol. 2
, Article 4.
Available at: https://dc.uwm.edu/fieldnotes/vol2/iss1/4