Collection Description

Culture Name


Culture Description

The Natchez were the last Mississippian mound building culture, surviving into the historical period, when they were found settled mainly in southwestern Mississippi. A two-level, quadripartite-ranked society of nobles and commoners with class exogamy and generational rank demotion was headed from Grand Village by the co-chiefs called the Great Sun and the Tattooed Serpent. The Natchez sustained themselves by growing maize and vegetables, and by hunting and fishing. Conflict with French colonists resulted in their disappearance as an independent polity by 1735.


Select the Culture Summary link above for a longer description of the culture.


North America --Eastern Woodlands


United States

OWC Code


Number of Documents


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Number of Pages


Collection Overview

Documents referred to in this section are included in eHRAF World Cultures (Archaeology) and are referenced by author, date of publication, and title where necessary.

In addition to the culture summary (Lorenz 2020), the collection contains two other overviews (Galloway and Jackson 2004; Lorenz 2000). The main monograph in the collection is based on French historical records (Swanton 1911). Barnett (2007) provides a thorough history of the Natchez in the proto-historic and historic periods (1542-1735), while Mooney (1899) focuses on the last years of the Natchez polity and the history of their dispersal (1716-1885). Three sources reexamine Natchez sociopolitical organization, using archaeological and demographic evidence to critique Swanton’s paramount chiefdom model (Lorenz 1997; Macleod 1962; White et al. 1971).

For more detailed information on the content of the individual works in this collection, see the abstracts in the citations preceding each document.

Overview by

Ian Skoggard

Calumet – peace pipe – use "RECREATIONAL AND NON-THERAPEUTIC DRUGS (276)" and/or "PEACEMAKING (728)"

Great Sun – paramount political and ceremonial chief – use "CHIEF EXECUTIVE (643)"

Natchez Paradox – unsustainability of historically-documented class exogamy – use REGULATION OF MARRIAGE (582)" and "CLASSES (565)"

Stinkards – commoner class – use "CLASSES (565)"

Tattooed Serpent – principal war chief – use "CHIEF EXECUTIVE (643)" or "MILITARY ORGANIZATION (701)"

Indexing Notes by

Ian Skoggard

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