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NORTHEAST ANTHROPOLOGY
Abstracts: Issue 69


Number 69 Spring 2005



The editorial comment for issue number 69 can be found at the end of this page.

ARTICLES
Pages
1-34 Cooking Residues, AMS Dates, and The Middle-To-Late Woodland Transition In Central New York

John P. Hart and Hetty Jo Brumbach

A series of 50 AMS dates on charred cooking residues removed from the interiors of pottery sherds is reviewed. The sherds were recovered from many of the key sites and components used by Ritchie and Funk to create the Woodland Stage of their New York culture history; we are now able to securely date these sites and components. The cooking residue dates demonstrate that the so-called Middle- to-Late Woodland transition in central New York is not as well understood as was previously thought. Pottery vessels attributable to Ritchie and MacNeish's early Point Peninsula types are dated as early as 300 B.C. to A.D. 5, and pottery vessels attributable to their Late Woodland "Owasco" types appear as early as AD 400-600. There is also substantial temporal overlap between types assigned to their Point Peninsula and Owasco types. These data, along with subsistence and settlement data published elsewhere argue that the last 2500 years of New York State's pre-European-contact Native American history is in need of substantial revision.

Nous avons examiné une série de 50 datations au radiocarbone par AMS obtenues sur des résidus carbonisés de cuisson collés à la paroi interne de vases en céramique provenant de plusieurs sites et composantes de sites. Ces sites avaient été considérés par Ritchie et Funk dans leur définition du stade Sylvicole au sein de l'histoire culturelle de l'État de New-York. Grâce à cet exercice, nous pouvons maintenant dater beaucoup plus solidement ces sites et ces composantes. Les résidus de cuisson montrent que la supposée transition du Sylvicole moyen au Sylvicole supérieur est moins bien comprise qu'on le croyait. Les vases attribuables aux types du début de l'épisode Pointe-Péninsule fournissent des dates aussi anciennes que l'intervalle entre 300 ans av. J.-C. et 5 ans ap. J.-C., et les vases attribuables aux types de l'épisode Owasco du Sylvicole supérieur apparaissent aussi anciennement qu'entre 400 ans ap. J.-C. et 600 ans ap. J.-C. Il y a également d'importants recoupements chronologiques entre les types du Pointe-Péninsule et de l'Owasco. Ces données, en conjoncture avec d'autres publiées ailleurs et concernant la subsistance et le schème d'établissement suggèrent que les dernières 2500 années d'histoire amérindienne pré-européenne de l'État de New-York auraient avantage à être grandement révisées.

35-57 Giant's Grave: Exploring The Cultural Significance Of Prehistoric Landscapes Within The Genesee River Valley

Roderick B. Salisbury and Karen S. Niemel

There are several documented cases of Late Archaic camps occurring on or adjacent to glacial kames and drumlins in New York State. Recent investigations have resulted in the identification of multiple short-term Late Archaic occupations on and around a glacial landform known as Giant's Grave. A landscape perspective offers clues as to the nature of this cluster of sites and others like them. When the peculiar nature of the landform itself is considered it is apparent that more than availability of resources encouraged occupation here. In particular, glacial kames appear to be sacred places in the landscape. This area is used as a case study to interpret similar locations in the region. By examining the consequences of this occupation within the larger regional conception of the Late Archaic, aspects of prehistoric ritual activity can be added to our knowledge of the period in central and western New York.

Dans l'État de New York, plusieurs sites de l'Archaïque récent se retrouvent sur, ou encore à proximité immédiate, des kames et des drumlins. Des recherches récentes ont permis la découverte de multiples occupations de courtes durées datant de l'Archaïque récent sur et autour d'une forme glaciaire connue sous le nom de Giant's Grave. Une approche qui tient compte du paysage donne des indices sur la nature de ce regroupement de sites tout comme d'autres dans des environnements similaires. En considérant les particularités de cette forme de relief, il devient clair qu'il y avait raisons autres que la disponibilité des ressources pour motiver l'occupation humaine de ces endroits. Les kames en particulier semblent avoir été des lieux sacrés dans le paysage. Nous utilisons le cas de Giant's Grave pour interpréter des endroits similaires dans la région dans le contexte général de l'Archaïque récent. Il devient alors possible d'ajouter des aspects rituels à notre corpus de connaissances concernant cette période dans le centre et l'ouest de l'État de New York.

59-85 Canis Familiaris Skeletal Remains From Weyanoke Old Town (44pg51), Virginia

Jeffrey P. Blick

Weyanoke Old Town (44PG51), Prince George County, Virginia, has yielded approximately 112 mostly complete Canis familiaris (domestic dog) skeletons from numerous features on a Late Woodland Virginia Algonquian (Weyanoke) village. Features included trash pits, human burials, and two apparent ritual deposits in which dogs accompany severed human forearms. The sample analyzed for this report included 47 dogs: approximately 60% adult or subadult (28/47), approximately 40% immature (19/47), and 50% male and female (14/28 each, of those identifiable to sex). Analysis of basioccipital measurements indicates that sex of the dogs can be determined with a high degree of confidence. Pathologies were identified in about 57% (16/28) of the adult and subadult dogs, and dental abnormalities (subnumerary and supernumerary teeth, microdontia, dental crowding, and slight to severe dental attrition) are present in about 89% (25/28) of the adult and subadult dogs analyzed to date. Additional skeletal abnormalities including healed fractures (perhaps indicative of mistreatment), disease (periostitis, arthritis, osteoarthrosis), and fused limb and foot bones were recorded. Cranial measurements suggest that these dogs fall into the mesaticephalic (medium-sized) skull type. Generally, the Weyanoke canids would be classified as medium-sized dogs standing an average of 42 cm high and weighing an average of 10.11 kg (22.29 lbs).

Le site Weyanoke Old Town (44PG51) du comté de Prince George en Virginie a livré approximativement 112 squelettes de chien domestique (Canis familiaris) provenant de nombreuses structures d'un village d'Algonquiens de Virginie du Sylvicole supérieur (Weyanoke). Ces structures comprennent des fosses à déchet, des inhumations humaines et deux aménagements de nature vraisemblablement rituelle où des hiens accompagnaient des avant-bras humains sectionnés. Nous avons utilisé un échantillon de 47 individus pour notre analyse, dont près de 60% d'adultes et de sous-adultes (28/47) et 40% de jeunes. On a pu déterminer le sexe de 28 individus, soit 14 mâles et 14 femelles. On a pu déterminer le sexe avec un bon degré de confiance à partir d'une analyse métrique du basioccipital. Chez les adultes et les sousadultes, environ 57% (16/28) de l'échantillon présente des pathologies et 89% (25/28) montre des anomalies dentaires (dents sous-numéraires et surnuméraires, microdontisme, encombrement, attrition de légère à sévère). D'autres anomalies ont également été observées sur les squelettes, dont des fractures guéries (qui sont de possibles indices de mauvais traitements), diverses maladies (périostite, arthrite, ostéoarthrose) et des fusions d'os des membres et des pieds. Les mesures crâniennes indiquent que la tête de ces chiens était du type mésaticéphale, c'est-à-dire de dimension moyenne. De façon générale, les canidés de Weyanoke peuvent être considérés de dimension intermédiaire, avec une taille moyenne de 42 cm et un poids moyen de 10 kg.

87-107 The Ottawa Valley Irish After The Great Famine, 1851-1881: Re-Thinking The Stem Family Debate

Edward J. Hedican

This paper examines an ongoing controversy in Irish historical anthropology commonly known as the "the stem family debate." The intention is to explore this debate in the context of the Irish settlement of eastern Canada in the Ottawa valley region during the post-famine period (i.e., between 1851-1881) by using census data and other historical records. It is argued that this debate about Irish family composition thus far has suffered from a preoccupation with Irish families in Ireland only, and that by looking elsewhere, Canada in this case, such comparison would shed light on the underlying conditions under which such families exist. In fact, the data presented in this paper leads one to argue that Irish family organization would appear to be much more fluid than the Ireland studies alone suggest.

Cet article aborde la controverse en cours au sujet de la famille souche en anthropologie historique irlandaise. Nous examinons les éléments de ce débat à travers le contexte de la colonization irlandaise de la vallée de l'Outaouais au cours de la période suivant la Grande Famine, soit de 1851 à 1881, en utilisant les données des recensements et d'autres documents historiques. Jusqu'à maintenant, la question de la composition familiale irlandaise a mis l'emphase sur les familles irlandaises en Irlande seulement. Nous considérons qu'en comparant avec des données d'ailleurs, notamment au Canada, il serait possible de faire la lumière sur les conditions d'existence de ces familles. Ainsi, les données présentées ici nous mènent à penser que l'organisation familiale irlandaise est beaucoup plus fluide que ne le suggèrent les études effectuées en Irlande seulement.

BOOK REVIEWS
109-110 Kahnawa:ke Factionalism, Traditionalism, and Nationalism in a Mohawk Community
(Gerald F. Reid)

Laurence M. Hauptman

110-112 Perishable Material Culture in the Northeast (Penelope Ballard Drooker, Editor)

Jenna Tedrick Kuttruff

112-113 Sparing Nature. The Conflict Between Human Population Growth and Earth's Biodiversity (Jeffery K. McKee)

Peter W. Stahl


EDITORIAL COMMENT
This volume marks the return of Northeast Anthropology to Albany and the inauguration of my editorship. I hope that the journal continues to enjoy the same reputation for quality research that it did under my predecessors. I would like to thank Charlie Cobb for his invaluable advice and assistance during the editorial transition. Special thanks to Laurie Miroff for agreeing to take up the all-important task of associate editor for a second time. I would also like to thank Josalyn Ferguson for her service as interim associate editor. Finally, I would like to thank the readership for their patience over the longer-than-expected gestation of this volume.

The papers contained in this volume represent a broad range of important anthropological research. Hart and Brumbach continue to develop their reassessment of Northeastern culture-history through the use of radiocarbon dates of organic residues from ceramic vessels. This research is literally rewriting the book on Northeastern archaeology and I am honored that they chose this journal in which to present their results. Salisbury and Niemel take a landscape analysis approach to better understand the ritual and symbolic importance of glacial landforms to Native American populations in the Northeast during the Late Archaic Period. Blick refers to a sizeable skeletal population of domesticated dogs from a Late Woodland Algonquian village in Virginia. Based upon the high degree of pathologies and injuries, Blick presents irrefutable evidence that it truly was a "dog's life" for "man's best friend" and contributes vital data to our knowledge of domesticated animals in North America and beyond. Finally, Hedican contributes to a broad "culture versus context" debate in an analysis of family structure among Irish immigrant populations in the Ottawa valley of Canada during the nineteenth century. His findings indicate that the so-called "stem family" multi-generational structure of Irish households was not the cultural norm it has long been thought to have been, but was a reaction to scarce land resources in Ireland, and not applicable in the land-rich North America.

I would like to dedicate this volume to two notable figures in the anthropology of the Northeast, both of whom were taken from us over the past year. William Fenton, the renowned scholar of the Iroquois, passed away on June 17, 2005. Dr. Fenton held several influential positions over his long career, including Senior Ethnologist at the Smithsonian Institution, Director of the New York State Museum, and Professor at the University at Albany. While he retired in 1979, he remained active up until his passing, with his last book to be published next year.

James Petersen, Associate Professor and Chair of Anthropology at the University of Vermont, was murdered on August 13, 2005, during a robbery while he was engaged in field research in Brazil. Dr. Petersen was a prolific researcher, and had made important contributions to the archaeology of both the Northeast and Amazonia. On a personal note, Jim was a great help to me in my research as a graduate student and later as a colleague. I am deeply saddened that the collaborations we had planned for the future will not come to pass due to a senseless violent act.

In closing, I would like to remind the readership and prospective authors to refer to the new address, email, web page and payment information provided on the inside cover of this volume. I look forward with great enthusiasm to future volumes of Northeast Anthropology.

Sean M. Rafferty

 



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