W2 Reflection Post

The Morton Village site provides a great example of an excavation site with many different types of methods being practiced.  It is easy to tell that they implement many of the major paradigms into their research when working on the site.  First off, they practice the Culture History method as they try to identify the Native Americans that lived in the area into two distinct groups: Mississippian and Oneota.  One way they did this was by categorizing pots and ceramic remains based off their features.  Depending on where the artifacts were found and the style and method used, archaeologists can determine whether the area was inhabited by Mississippian Natives or the Oneota.  Another way to determine who inhabited the area was through their architectural styles and methods.  The foundations for each type of home were very distinct, again making it much easier to tell which group lived in these homes.


The Processual Approach is yet another paradigm being practiced at the Morton Village site.  In Processual Archaeology the ecological model is stressed pretty heavily, hence one of their current goals being trying to figure out the layout of the area and which group inhabited which parts.  Processual Archaeology also embraces science and statistics.  The lecture mentioned that the archaeologists at the site discovered the Norris Farms 36.  Based off the skeletal analysis, they determined that there was a lot of violence in the area because about half of the adults found suffered from some sort of violence.  I thought that it was also very interesting when the lecture stated that violence rates were about the same when it came down to gender.


I see the Contextual Approach being practiced in the Morton Village site as well.  They knew that there was a cohabitation of the area between the Mississippians and the Oneota.  However, they are really concerned with how the two groups lived in the area together.  Based off their findings in the cemetery, I’m going to guess that the cohabitation wasn’t the most peaceful between the two groups, as there was probably dispute over traditions and norms between them.


Some questions I have about the two tribes concern their daily lives together.  There obviously had to be some differences between their two cultures, but were there any mutual norms that brought them together? What was the main cause of violence in the area? Were they fighting amongst themselves or did they have a mutual enemy they were fighting against? And the biggest question I have is why they decided to live together in the first place.  What was their main reason to come together and try to share their land with one another?

3 thoughts on “W2 Reflection Post

  1. I found the violence in the culture interesting too. When you mention how the violence rates were about the same for both females and males I actually forgot about that information in the lecture. Which made me draw different theories then what I first thought about the violence. Now thinking about it maybe in their cultures women and men were equal. Therefore, they might had practice the same rituals on both secounts but probably have different values. Or maybe since there was connections between Mississippian and Oneota maybe there was a war and men and women both fought. It’s very interesting to look at it from a different perspective.

  2. I find it very interesting that we share many of the same questions about this peculiar place. We have seen that there has been plenty of aggressive violence in this area but what was the issue at hand during these violent actions? Also I love your question regarding the reason behind their decision to live together. It seems quite odd that this decision would be made willingly so there could be an underlying force that caused them to join forces. I can also easily see each approach being adopted in this archaeological site in the exact ways that you described. What is fascinating though is what some people see as processual archaeology may be seen as contextual archaeology to someone else.

  3. Marcus, good discussion about the different approaches. I should note that the names ‘Mississippian’ and ‘Oneota’ are used to describe certain traits found, but do not in fact correspond to a tribe or what these groups actually called themselves. There is not a lot of historical evidence to link these groups to modern day tribes, so we use terms created by archaeologists to refer to them.

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