W2 Reflection Post

The Morton Village Project is an ongoing project located in west central Illinois.  The site has evidence of both Mississippian and Oneota groups inhabiting the site. 

The Cultural History Approach to archaeology largely sees the focus directed at the who, what, when and where of the people and obtaining a chronology of the past. It views culture as having shared ideas and traits.  There are things that are normative, such as pottery.  As the reading’s example suggests, there are only so many ways to go about making pottery.  As seen at Morton Village, both the Mississippian and the Oneota used pottery. However, both had their own cultural distinctions evident in both the construction and the decoration of the pots and jars.  Because there is evidence that the two were present (perhaps simultaneously) on the site, an interesting cultural change takes place.  You can see some of the Oneota pottery morph in to a merged design.  Specifically, with some plates that were found where the larger design normally seen within the Mississippian plate design was then decorated in a typically Oneota design.

The Processual Approach to archaeology leans the focus to how and why events occurred.  The approach digs deeper than just identifying the people and seeks to know how they lived culturally both at one time and through time.  The Morton Village project is looking at the remains found at the cemetery and is looking to why there is such an increase in violent deaths.  Bigger questions emerge from that as well.  If the two were living together, were they violent between each other or did other stressors cause “in fighting”?  It’s an interesting question to be asking.

As I am just getting acquainted with the Morton Village, I am wondering why the Oneota migrated there in the first place?  Was there a particular event, or was it just curiosity?  The question I find the most interesting is whether the Oneota simply took over an abandoned Mississippian site?  Even the morphing of the pottery of the Oneota could have happened because they were using the abandoned pottery on the site.  The reading suggests a quizzical find with a typically Mississippian ceramic figurine found with a broken Oneota jar.  That could also be the result of picking up interesting finds on the abandoned site and then it ends up mixed in everyday things.  These are the questions I find most interesting within archaeology. 

5 thoughts on “W2 Reflection Post

  1. I loved the detail of this post. The mentioning of the pottery and tools used as well as the mention of the cemetery, which I totally forgot to mention in mine. I like that you left the reader with things to think about and consider in each paragraph. The questions you posed about the possibility of in fighting or the physical evidence that was there and how it affected the groups of individuals. Your finals paragraph in itself was awesome. The questions you asked are all things that I would remember if I were to ever study in Morton village. I would want to work towards finding answers to those questions because they’re very insightful and really would require a lot of thought which is important for something like this.

  2. The detail you used in describing the pottery and how it shows the two groups culture and then how it was blended. For me there was too much detail surrounding the pottery to process. I found the village layout to be the most interesting part of the readings and lectures. However, the way you discuss the pottery makes understanding it much easier and has helped me understand it. Your questions regarding the violent were also interesting. That was something I had over looked but it is very weird that they appear to have been coexisting in the village but then why were there violent deaths.

  3. I like your statement in both approaches of culture history and processual archaeology. You mentioned every single detail about the definition of culture history and gave an example of it in the case of Morton Village project. I think we have the same perception in both approaches. For example, culture history method have a goal in obtaining the sequences of chronology of the past, whereas processual archaeology emphasizes more on the ‘processes’ itself, like how Oneota and Mississippi might have a conflict according to the result of skeletal analysis.

    I was intrigued by your question, ‘why Oneota migrated there?’ I think this is the main puzzle that has not been solved yet, because there must be a main reason behind a migration of a group of people.

  4. I love that you asked what triggered the initial migration. I, too, wondered this, though I don’t remember if I asked it in my post.

    I also heavily considered the possibility of the Oneota having taken over an abandoned Mississipian village, thought the thought that ultimately caused me to consider otherwise was the evidence of violence. This, however, lead me to consider that Morton Village may have been a town taken over by the Oneota in a time of war. Perhaps they let some Mississipians continue to live there, or perhaps they simply had relations before the war, allowing for the influences on pottery etc. that they seemed to have on each other. If the latter is the case, then it begs the question: “what incited the war?”

Leave a Reply