Meghan Buchanan’s archaeological research on Mississippian societies (ca. AD 1000-1600) of the Midwest and Southeast has focused on the consequences of violence and warfare associated with the rise and fall of these complex polities. In particular, she is interested how warfare impacted the daily practices of Mississippian peoples as they had to contend with long term threats of violence, food uncertainty, and restricted access to resources. Buchanan has directed excavations at the Common Field site in Missouri and the Ebert-Canebrake site in Alabama and had supervised projects at Cahokia Mounds (western Illinois), Kincaid Mounds (southern Illinois), and the Dead Man’s Curve site (southwest Indiana).
Currently, Buchanan is researching Mississippian societies along the Tallapoosa River in Alabama. As the major polities of Moundville (west Alabama) and Etowah (northwest Georgia) expanded (ca. A.D. 1200-1400) and collapsed (ca. A.D. 1400), the Lower Tallapoosa experienced periods of population expansion, violence, and abandonment as different groups of people came into contact and moved throughout the region. Her research draws on excavation, remote sensing, and the reanalysis of legacy collections at Auburn to explore the following questions: Were the interactions between the diverse groups of people in the Lower Tallapoosa contentious or peaceful? Did some of their interactions result in new kinds of communities and material practices? What happened to the people who lived in the region prior to A.D. 1400? What happened to these communities after the de Soto entrada came through the region in A.D. 1540?
In addition to her scholarly research, Buchanan is an executive officer on the board of the Southeastern Archaeological Conference, was a co-founder of the Southeastern Archaeological Mentoring Network, and was the recipient of a National NAGPRA Consultation grant.
Mississippian societies of the Midwest and Southeast