W2 Reflection Post

The Morton Village site is an interesting look at modern archaeology and modern archeological techniques and theoretical approaches. The team at the Morton Village site is drawing heavily from cultural history and processual archaeology. The cultural history aspect is easily apparent. The team is making full use of material culture during the dig. Pottery has been a big focus for the dig team because of the way it helps with differentiating between Oneota and Mississippian culture. The Oneota pottery was more ornate than the Mississippian pottery so the team is able to separate the two cultures. The pottery is also being used to show the integration that occurred, if any, between the two cultures over time. Another aspect of material culture that the team is looking at is the subsistence material. The team is using the remains of animals and storage vessels to explore the diets of both the Oneota and Mississippians. This information is very important because the diet of a people, and its change over time, can tell us a lot about the people themselves and their society. Finally, the team is examining the layout of the posts used to build the houses at the Morton Village site. The layout of post is useful because the Oneota and Mississippians had different construction practices. The team uses this information, and dating techniques, to determine when each culture inhabited the site, and whether there was cohabitation.

The impact of processual archaeology is more evident in the research goals of the project. The team proposed a number of hypotheses and began their examinations in a very scientific way. First, the team is testing the hypothesis regarding cohabitation. This is why the posts and pottery are so important, they provide the key evidence to support or refute the theory of cohabitation. The team also proposed a hypothesis regarding the apparent violence, evidence of which is found at the Norris Farms Cemetary #36. The team is trying to figure out why there was so much violence, was it the Mississippians resisting in-migration by the Oneota or was it simple inter tribal warfare? Finally the team is comparing the subsistence remains at Morton Village to those from surrounding Mississippian sites and other Oneota sites to see if there was any change due to interaction.

I found the materialistic approach, especially regarding the posts, to be the most interesting. The fact that both cultures had such different construction styles and the fact that the dirt from the rotted posts can be dated to determine when the structure was built I found to be really cool. The only question I thought of wile reading and watching the video was, why did the Oneota move into the Illinois River Valley? There don’t seem to be many other Oneota sites in the area so what drew them to the Morton Village area?

3 thoughts on “W2 Reflection Post

  1. I definitely agree with you that the cultural history aspect is pretty easy to see. It was cool to see how the archeologists used what they knew about the different group’s pottery to see where they lived in comparison to each other. I also think the information about subsistence from both the groups is important to analyze how they lived. It also could show us huge similarities or differences in terms of their cultures. I really liked the questions you raised as well. I wonder if the Oneota moved to the Morton Village area because of the Mississippians or their building structures.

  2. I agree with you on how the Morton Village site is drawing heavily on processual and culture history approaches. Also, your question on what drew the Oneota to the Morton Village area is one that I had not really thought of asking. They haven’t been near that area (that we know of), and the difference between the Oneota and the Mississippians can easily be seen through their construction styles and what we can gather about their cultures so far. I wonder how they got there and why they went there as well. Also, what happened to them? You had a great question. Thank you for your insight!

  3. Scott, multiple things likely drew the Oneota to the Central Illinois River Valley, including access to resources. Further, sometimes we find posts that are still intact (likely burned) inside of structures these are typically what are dated – you’ll learn more about this during Week 6 when we talk about radiocarbon dating.

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