Abstract

This discussion provides commentary on the articles included in this guest-edited issue of the Midcontinental Journal of Archaeology on Middle Woodland ceremonial situations in the North American midcontinent. Articles in this issue discuss and navigate how situation theory may be applied to the complex interactions of Middle Woodland societies by examining how diverse historical and social factors influence broader social interactions. These articles move beyond concepts like the interaction sphere perspective first coined in the 1960s (by Joseph Caldwell) to examine the ways Middle Woodland communities—in all their diversity—created and shared similar conditions of being while also maintaining a diversity of materially evident ceremonial practices. Situation theory allows the authors of these articles to examine how such diverse (both geographically and socially) societies became part of, and contributed to, a dynamic and multiscalar Middle Woodland “situation.” By focusing on assemblages, materialities, and processes of becoming, these articles provide novel perspectives on how persons (both human and nonhuman) converge to create particular situations and conditions of diverse relationships that result in shared sociocultural experiences.

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