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Abstracts: Issues 77-78

Issue 77/78 Spring and Fall 2012

The editorial comment for issues 77-78 can be found at the end of this page.

Pages 1-19 An Analysis of Phase I Surveys in New England

Mandy Ranslow

Archaeological survey methods in New England vary by state and by the cultural resource management company conducting the work. This article takes a regional look at how Phase I (reconnaissance) surveys were carried out in all of the New England states between 1985 and 2005. A sample of reports was analyzed from each state, and the most common practices were compared in light of current State Historic Preservation Office requirements. The most common practices found in the reports were then compared with known sites located on the Mashantucket Pequot Reservation in southeastern Connecticut. The goal of this study was to evaluate whether current archaeological survey techniques are sufficient for identifying sites that are potentially eligible for the National Register. This analysis found that although current practices are sufficient in identifying large artifact-dense sites, current methods fail to identify small or less-artifact-dense sites, which may be equally important.

Les méthodes de prospection archéologique en Nouvelle-Angleterre varient selon les états et les firmes qui font le travail. Cet article passe en revue les inventaires qui ont été conduits dans l'ensemble de la Nouvelle-Angleterre entre 1985 et 2005. Un échantillon de rapports de chaque état a été examiné et les pratiques les plus communes ont été comparées à la lumière des exigences actuelles du State Historic Preservation Office. Puis, ces pratiques ont été confrontées à la réalité des sites de la réserve Pequot de Mashantucket dans le sud-est du Connecticut. L'objectif de cette étude est d'évaluer si les méthodes de prospection archéologiques actuelles sont suffisantes pour identifier les sites qui sont éligibles au registre national. L'analyse a démontré que, si les pratiques courantes sont aptes à trouver des sites ayant une grande densité artéfactuelle, elles restent inefficaces pour les sites qui peuvent être tout aussi importants mais de petite dimension ou présentant une faible densité artéfactuelle.

Pages 21-45 Tree Throws and Site Selection: Late Archaic Occupation at Southeastern Connecticut’s Preston Plains Site

Timothy H. Ives

Several Archaic and Woodland period sites in the New England and the Middle Atlantic contain deep soil features (DSFs) that have become objects of a pit house versus tree throw debate. Contributing to this debate, case study of a DSF complex at southeastern Connecticut’s Preston Plains Site argues that tree throws generated such features, and proposes how long-term processes transform tree throw disturbances into the varied expressions DSFs exhibit. Most important, local Late Archaic Period (ca. 5000–3000 B.P.) foragers appear to have centered some of their short-term residential sites on tree throw hollows. In view of similar patterns from Mesolithic and early Neolithic European sites, these findings highlight what is likely an under-recognized and globally relevant aspect of human behavior in forested landscapes.

Plusieurs sites de l'Archaïque et du Sylvicole de la Nouvelle-Angleterre et de la côte Atlantique contiennent des structures en creux profonds dont l'interprétation fait l'objet d'un débat: s'agit-il de fosses domestiques ou de chablis? Une étude de cas d'un ensemble de structures au site Preston Plains du Connecticut indique qu'elles ont pour origine les arbres renversés et met en lumière les processus à long terme qui transforment ces structures de façons variées. De plus, il semble que les groupes locaux de l'Archaïque récent (entre 5000 et 3000 ans A.A.) aient centré des lieux de résidence de courte durée autour de ces chablis. À la lumière de cas similaires provenant des sites du Mésolithique et du Néolithique européens, ces éléments soulignent ce qui est probablement un aspect peu reconnu mais néanmoins pertinent du comportement humain dans les environnements forestiers.

Pages 47–70 Post Molds and Preconceptions: New Observations about Iroquoian Longhouse Architecture

John L. Creese

In this paper, I argue that the improper use of ethnohistorically derived models has caused archaeologists to overlook the evidence for how precontact Iroquoian longhouses were spatially organized. Kernel density estimation (KDE) analysis is applied here, for the first time, to identify characteristic distribution patterns of posts and pits about central hearths in a large diachronic sample of longhouse floors from southern Ontario. The results reveal a previously undocumented system of supporting architecture for houses in the region and a pattern of relative proxemic distances that was conserved for more than five centuries.

Dans cet article, l'auteur soutient que le mauvais usage des modèles ethnohistoriques a fait en sorte que les archéologues ont fermé les yeux sur beaucoup de données concernant l'organisation spatiale des maisons-longues iroquoiennes. Il a appliqué, pour la première fois, une analyse statistique utilisant la méthode d'estimation par noyau afin d'identifier des patterns de distribution des traces de piquet et des fosses autour des foyers centraux dans un grand échantillon diachronique de planchers de maisons-longues du sud de l'Ontario. Les résultats révèlent un système inédit de structures architecturales de support pour les maisons de la région, et un modèle de distances proxémiques qui a perduré sur plus de cinq siècles.

Pages 71–87 Rethinking Palisades in the Northeast: Evidence from the Eaton Site

Piotr Poplawski, Joshua J. Kwoka, William Engelbrecht

Eaton is a multicomponent site located in western New York. The major component consists of an Iroquoian village dating to the mid-sixteenth century. There is a high ratio of expedient lithic tools to debitage in the area of the palisade. We explore possible explanations for this distribution and discuss the implications for the construction and maintenance of a palisade.

Le site Eaton, dans l'ouest de l'État de New York, est constitué de composantes multiples dont la principale consiste en un village iroquoien datant du milieu du XVIe siècle. Dans le secteur de la palissade, on retrouve un ratio élevé d'outillage opportuniste par rapport au débitage. Les auteurs explorent les causes de cette distribution et discutent des implications possibles dans la construction et le maintien de la palissade.

Pages 89–138 European Trade Goods at the Ripley Site: Implications for Interaction Networks and Chronology

Penelope B. Drooker

The Ripley site in southwestern New York has been the focus of archaeological investigations for over a century. European goods excavated at Ripley are not numerous, and, for the most part, not spectacular. However, they firmly establish a late-sixteenth- to early-seventeenth-century time period for significant portions of the site and provide insight into the interaction networks of its residents. European-derived materials and other exotic artifacts demonstrate connections with Ontario Iroquoian, Seneca, Monongahela, and Fort Ancient peoples, among others.

Le site Ripley, dans le sud-ouest de l'État de New York, a fait l'objet de recherches archéologiques sur plus d'un siècle. Les biens européens mis au jour au site ne sont pas nombreux ni, pour la majorité d'entre-eux, impressionnants. Ils témoignent néanmoins d'une fourchette de temps couvrant la fin du XVIe siècle et le début du XVIIe siècle pour une proportion significative du site et ils mettent en lumière les réseaux d'interactions de ses résidents. Les objets d'origine européenne et d'autres artefacts exotiques démontrent des liens notamment avec les Iroquoiens de l'Ontario et les Senecas, ainsi que les groupes Monongahela et Fort Ancient.

Pages 139–161 Representational Art of the St. Lawrence Iroquoians and Eastern Iroquois

Anthony Wonderley

Some 500 years ago, people living along the St. Lawrence River and in the areas historically belonging to the Onondagas, Oneidas, and Mohawks shared a repertoire of human-like imagery on their smoking pipes and cooking vessels. Effigies on both pipes and pots reified beliefs, probably important ones. This article surveys the archaeology of those objects, inquiring into the nature of the pictures and what they may have meant. Assuming that symbolic meanings suited their contexts, and in the light of what was later documented, I propose the pipes reflect diplomatic activities of men plying their trade on an interregional canvas. Depictions on pipes illustrated mythological acts of emergence asserting the common origins of several groups. Ceramic pots, on the other hand, reflect domestic activities of women in the hearth and home. Anthropomorphic representations on the vessels connoted corn and, very possibly, made reference to mythological cornhusk people and bounteous harvests. Evidently, the depictions on pipes and pottery—and presumably the associated concepts— originated among St. Lawrence Iroquoians

Il y a de cela cinq siècles, les gens qui habitaient le long du fleuve Saint-Laurent et dans les régions appartenant historiquement aux Onondagas, aux Oneidas et aux Mohawks, partageaient un répertoire d'effigies humaines sur leurs pipes et leurs vases qui réifiaient des croyances probablement importantes. Cet article enquête sur l'archéologie de ces objets, sur la nature des images et sur ce qu'elles auraient pu signifier. En assumant que leur valeur symbolique convient au contexte, et à la lumière de ce qui a éventuellement été décrit, l'auteur propose que les pipes reflètent des activités diplomatiques masculines dans un cadre interrégional. Les représentations sur les pipes illustraient des actes mythologiques d'émergence qui soutiennent l'origine commune de plusieurs groupes. D'autre part, les vases reflètent les activités domestiques féminines. Les représentations anthropomorphes sur les vases faisaient référence au maïs et possiblement aux mythes des figures en feuilles de maïs et aux récoltes abondantes. Manifestement, les représentations sur les pipes et la poterie, ainsi que les concepts qui leurs sont associés, ont une origine chez les Iroquoiens du Saint-Laurent.


163-166 The Eastern Archaic, Historicized (Kenneth E. Sassaman)

Edward V. Curtin


We are happy to present our readers with another double issue, containing six articles as well as a book review. We hope that these double issues are rewarding for readers, with a more substantial number of papers, and will also serve to get our publication schedule lined up with the calendar year.

Readers will also note a change in the dating practices starting with this volume. Starting with this volume we have changed the date to the current year, 2012, rather than following sequentially the dates of the previous volumes, which were several years behind the current date. The volume numbers remain consecutive. This has been done to avoid cases of researchers publishing with the journal having articles dated significantly prior to the year of actual writing, which can negatively impact professional development.

In this volume, Mandy Ranslow presents an analysis of phase I surveys in New England. This is the sort of fundamental analysis of “gray literature” that we like to encourage, and provides a valuable reference for Northeast archaeology. Timothy Ives investigates an often problematic type of soil disturbance: the tree throw. These are often mistaken for cultural features, and then discounted once identified as due to naturally occurring phenomena. While of natural origins, Ives discusses how these features may have played a role in site location selections. Turning to site organization, John Creese presents an architectural analysis of Iroquoian longhouses, while Piotr Poplowski, Joshua Kwoka, and William Engelbrecht investigate the construction of palisades. Penelope Drooker delves into the collections of the New York State Museum for her analysis of European trade goods at the Ripley site, and their implications for patterns of trade and exchange during the Contact Period. Standing at the top of this volumes’ “ladder of inference,” Anthony Wonderley investigates Iroquoian representational art, comparing traditionsof the St. Lawrence and Eastern populations of Iroquoian Native Americans.

As always, we’d like to renew our requests for article submission from any subfield of anthropology, as well as article reviewers and book reviewers. Any interested reviewers or prospective authors can contact us at neanthro@albany.edu.

Sean M. Rafferty


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