«By James R. Keron Graduate Program in Anthropology Submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Arts Faculty of ...»
The Evidence In attempting to validate the hypothesis that down-the-line trade was the reason for the pattern of rapid distance decay noted earlier (Keron 1986), a number of implications were developed in the research design. In total, there is good support for most of the implications. The chart in Appendix E, Box 2 is the evaluation of the original set of testable implications as confirmed or negated by the observations.
The Neutral Pattern Morrow and Jeffries (1989) postulated that non-local chert would be more reduced than locally available chert. That postulate has been well borne out in the data here. One observation, however, that there is a slight tendency for chert to arrive in a less reduced state through time, would seem to provide contradictory evidence. However, it should also be noted that this tendency is slight and the main reason for the contradiction is the increased use of local till chert in the later periods.
Both Jeske (1989) and Morrow and Jeffries (1989) assert that non-local chert, if acquired through exchange will be used in the manufacture of formal artefacts. Again, a number of the observations bear this out. Primary among these is the debitage data relating to biface production. Here the ranking is similar to that noted above with respect to the reduction state of the arriving chert. Onondaga is most preferred for biface production followed by Kettle Point which is followed in turn by local till chert. The strength of this conclusion is slightly tempered by the suitability, albeit marginal, of local till chert for biface production. However, during the MOI when access to high quality chert was constrained, local till chert was used in biface production. All of the negative evidence listed in Appendix E, Box 2 seems to be underlain by only two factors. First, accounting for three of the observations is the fact that there seems to be an apparent preference for Kettle Point chert to be cycled into expedient use. This cycling is best interpreted as a function of its suitability for flake tools. However, during the MOI, more Kettle Point chert was used in biface production. For Onondaga chert however, the evidence is much more straightforward. It is clearly favoured for biface production as is evidenced here and through Pearce=s (1994) analysis of Lawson site projectile points.
The second source of contradiction relates to the Glen Meyer period where a down-theline model does not apply so the evidence does not refute the applicability of this explanation in the Neutral period. In any event, while the evidence favours use of both Onondaga and Kettle Point chert for production of formal artefacts, the evidence is not clear cut.
The third implication, that non-local chert will be discarded largely in the form of exhausted and broken tools was originally postulated by Morrow and Jeffries (1989) for Archaic populations of hunter-gatherers. Given the mobile nature of these societies a different technological organization saw the production of bifaces and tools which could be resharpened over the course of their life span. Iroquoian bifaces were typically discarded when broken since they were so small that resharpening in most cases would not be an option. However, as an indirect measure of this postulate=s viability one can compare Onondaga and Kettle Point formal and informal artefacts to the percentages of the same chert types in the debitage. This comparison indicates that the non-local cherts were being discarded more in tool form than was the case in the general debitage population.
The test implication that Onondaga was the preferred chert in the west and Kettle Point would be preferred in the east as they are more expensive having passed through more hands depends on the actual movement in the two directions. Evaluation of this requires a detailed comparison of the uses to which both types of chert were used at the extremities of the study area. As Onondaga can not be demonstrated to have moved from east to west, indeed, a southerly access route from secondary sources being more likely, it is impossible to analyse this hypothesis as it was originally formulated.
Hofman (1987) postulates and demonstrates that traded material will be smaller than material that is not traded in, examining the distributions of blades in the Hopewell period. While size was not captured as a measure during this study, an indirect measure of it is the state of reduction of the imported material. Onondaga chert and Kettle Point chert are arriving in a more reduced state and therefore as smaller units than would be available at the source of the high quality material.
A critical piece of evidence supporting the down-the-line exchange model is the distance decay analysis. On the theoretical level, there has been an attempt to relate these distance decay functions to various acquisition styles (Findlow and Bolognese 1982;
Hodder and Orton 1976; Reid 1986; Renfrew 1975, 1977). Some of this effort has been productive (Findlow and Bolognese 1982) and some of it has been problematic (Reid 1986). Hodder (1982) cautions against reading too much into the form of the best fit regression equation as different acquisition patterns could lead to the same form of regression curve. Renfrew (1977) actually demonstrates mathematically how different acquisition patterns can lead to the same regression curves. Regression curves can easily be clouded by a number of factors both cultural and geographical. One of the geographical factors confounding the building of meaningful regression curves is the availability of water transport (Hodder and Orton 1976; Janusas 1984; Luedke 1976).
The cost of acquisition does not necessarily vary with the physical distance: it varies with how long and how difficult it is to traverse the distance. If the potential of water transport is not recognized the data can appear inconclusive. Another factor is the intervening terrain. Findlow and Bolognese (1982), working in an area with rugged topography, actually factored into the analysis the impact of terrain on the distance to the source. A third factor confounding distance decay analysis is inclusion of too broad a scope in the cultural units being studied. Reid (1986) encounters this problem in the current study area when he tried to develop a distance decay regression curve for Kettle Point chert for the Late Woodland period in southwestern Ontario. As is demonstrated here, dividing this period into EOI, MOI and LOI and restricting the study area to a more limited geographical area, demonstrates that there are several distinctly different regression equations that apply over the three periods. Finally, another factor that could lead to an erroneous conclusion would be population distribution. While direct procurement could have been used, if the population density was distributed in an exponentially decreasing manner, the distribution would be reflective of population density not the exchange mechanism (Renfrew 1977).
In examining the distance decay patterns there is clearly a completely different regression line comparing the Neutral pattern to the Glen Meyer pattern. Figure 16 superimposes the two regression lines. The Glen Meyer pattern is linear, gradually tailing off with distance. During the late Neutral period, the closest Neutral site to the source is the Lawson site. From a high of 85% at the Lawson site, the percentage drops rapidly to around 60% in the Lambeth cluster then again to 20% in the Pond Mills cluster and then off to small percentages in the Lake Whitaker cluster. This drop off for Neutral villages is best approximated by a logarithmic equation and the R-Squared value for this is high demonstrating a good fit. A logarithmic equation is assumed to represent down-the-line exchange (Renfrew 1977).
The shape of the regression curve for Neutral cabin sites is similar to that of the villages but the best fit is a different equation form. As is demonstrated herein, cabin sites tend to access more local till chert in an embedded fashion. Also, when a regression curve is calculated for the cabin sites on their own, it lies to the left of the village curve (Figure 15) indicating that these sites have lower use of Kettle Point chert. Since agricultural fields are owned by lineages (Trigger 1987), implying that the cabin sites are as well, the lineage using the cabin could easily be one that did not have better access to Kettle Point chert. Further, Sidrys (1977), reports a similar pattern for Maya obsidian trade in comparing the amount of imported obsidian between major and minor centres. In effect, there were two distinct regression lines, one for the major centres and one for the minor centres. Renfrew (1977) discusses this factor as well, noting that the flow of goods in an exchange system will flow to the central place first and from there to the minor centres. With the data presented here, the villages and agricultural cabin sites are best seen as special cases of major and minor centres and indeed the plot of the two regression curves is similar to that which he derived. As a side note, Reid (1986) was on the right track in identifying the Lawson site as a major centre that controlled the flow of goods to other Late Woodland sites in the area. His error was in not adopting time controls that were fine enough to identify the pattern.
One of the key arguments towards the down-the-line hypothesis is the sudden and significant drop in accessibility to Kettle Point chert between the Lambeth cluster, that most often has 55B65% Kettle Point chert, and the Pond Mills cluster where 15-25% is the norm. With the Lambeth cluster located between 67 and 69 km from the source and the Pond Mills cluster located at a distance of 74-79 km and local till chert equally available to both, there is clearly some cultural factor that allows access for Lambeth but blocks a similar access to Pond Mills. The 7-12 km difference is simply not nearly great enough to account for the difference. Historic Huron are noted as travelling over 1000 miles on trade expeditions and looking at the distance decay for the Glen Meyer period they clearly did not have the problem. Distance itself is unlikely to have been the causative factor. Furthermore, with the availability of local till chert to both groups, Kettle Point chert was clearly preferred by the Lambeth group possibly due to the superior quality. There is no reason to assume that it would not be equally valued by the Pond Mills group. In fact, other analyses within this study indicate the local till chert was always used as a last resort to satisfy needs that could not be supplied any other way.
However, the acquisition mechanism does not allow Pond Mills equal access to the source.
This pattern consisting of a relatively flat decay to a certain point and then a rapid fall off beyond it is almost identical to what Renfrew et al. (1968) found for obsidian in the Near East. The only difference is in the scale of the distances involved. In Renfrew=s study a supply zone was identified that had relatively free access to the source but a point was reached where the fall off was steep and exponential. With the data in this study, the supply zone could be considered to extend to the Lawson Site. From that point east, the percentage of Kettle Point chert drops very rapidly beyond all reasonable explanations if distance was the determining factor. This result is particularly telling given the earlier much shallower decay that was in effect during Glen Meyer times. This logarithmic falloff model is usually associated with a down-the-line exchange system (e.g. Findlow and Bolognese 1982, Reid 1986, Renfrew 1977) although the mathematical characterization of the curve varies.
Another factor supporting the down-the line model of exchange is the fact that it is generally consistent with the hypothesis about lineage control of trade routes that is discussed below.
Middle Ontario Iroquoian Pattern The results for this time period are problematic mostly because of the distribution and number of the sites. The Middleport sub-stage sites all tend to cluster close to Byron while there are only three Uren period sites included. Sites further outside of this cluster would have been extremely beneficial. The Messenger site (AfHf-3) is one such site however, a good representative flake sample does not exist. The London Museum of Archaeology does have some formal artefacts from the site but as most of the comparison was done with the debitage, this information, while interesting, would not have been comparable to the debitage data that was used to determine all of the percentages.
However, if all of the sites are taken as a group, the distinct likelihood of a logarithmic curve similar to that observed in the Neutral period is evident in the plot of Kettle Point distance decay (Figure 10). While the best fit for the regression line for the MOI is a power curve, the shapes of this curve are very similar to a logarithmic curve.
This viewpoint is strengthened somewhat by the clear differential access to Kettle Point chert that was evident in the internal distribution analysis for the Drumholm site. The other factor confounding the regression curve during the MOI is that access to Kettle Point chert is severely curtailed during the Uren substage and then changes through time as access is improved. Thus, it is not to be expected that this shifting access would lead to a stable distance decay pattern. At this point, the best assumption possible, but one that is by no means certain, is that the MOI pattern closely resembles the LOI pattern with the exception that access to Kettle Point chert is severely curtailed so the total amounts flowing through the system are much less.