«By James R. Keron Graduate Program in Anthropology Submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Arts Faculty of ...»
A related question that is connected to this discussion concerns ownership of the originating resource. Without such ownership control, one group could in theory just bypass the upstream partner and go and acquire their own chert as was feasible and permissible during the EOI. While the early records are quite clear about ownership of the trade routes, the ownership of the source is not spelled out. Within the study area, the difference in distance between Lawson and Lambeth and the Kettle Point chert source is 5 km, hardly enough difference to account for the drop in percentage. This evidence in itself tends to imply ownership of the source by the Lawson people. It is clear that lineages owned more than just the trade routes. Trigger (1987) notes ownership of agricultural fields. Elsewhere lineages are documented as owning a number of other resources as well (see Dalton (1977) for a short discussion). Relating directly to chert acquisition, source ownership and production is the Slack-Caswell site, an Onondaga chert quarry site with a single longhouse, that was actually set up as a production centre in Middleport times implying corporate ownership of the resource as well as a production centre where the lineage extracted excess chert intended for exchange (Jamieson 1979).
In summary, this hypothesis has been confirmed although demonstration across more sites would certainly be ideal to increase the confidence in the explanation. This study was however, the initial trial and it has demonstrated an effective methodology to conduct the analysis and the results have so far confirmed the hypothesis.
Hypothesis 6: Time-Depth of the Pattern The evidence against this hypothesis was so overwhelming that its failure became evident even during data collection. Once several EOI and MOI sites had been analysed it became evident that the amount of Kettle Point chert was low compared to later sites.
This outcome was not totally unexpected as the possibility of a curtailment of access to Kettle Point chert had been discussed much earlier (Keron 1986) and the same possibility was reflected in one of the alternate cultural hypotheses in Chapter 3. Pearce (1996), commenting on Southdale (AfHh-35), an Iroquoian site in south London, even used the low percentage of Kettle Point chert in absence of definitive rim sherd data to suggest a Middleport substage placement.
The major feature of this failure is the existence of three distinct distance decay regression lines for Kettle Point chert for each of the three periods. Essentially, an intermediate level of access existed during Glen Meyer times. There is a severe curtailment during MOI times and then use builds rapidly to Neutral times to the point where at the Lawson site there is an almost obsessive use of Kettle Point chert. In examining the regression curves, the reason for proposing the time-depth hypothesis is evident. It derived from the coincidence of the intersection of the two distance decay regression lines for the EOI and LOI directly in the middle of the earlier study area (Keron 1986) between Pond Mills and Dorchester (Figure 13). While frequencies in the 20-30% range were found for all time periods it was not due to conservation through time of the same acquisition pattern. The loss, with the collapse of the hypothesis, is an inability to trace groups through time based on chert usage, especially the potential to link Glen Meyer peoples to their later MOI descendants.
In Appendix E, Box 6 the observations are mapped against the implications of the hypothesis. The evidence is clearly against any time depth to the down-the-line hypothesis. All of this evidence relates to changing frequencies of Kettle Point chert.
However, the evidence is mixed with respect to the chert patterns remaining constant.
Four of the observations favour gradual change and even some of the observations listed under the AContradicts@ column hardly represent a sharp break in the chert working industry. For example, observations 7, 8 and 9 in section of Chapter 6 titled Formal and Informal Artefact Variation all note that there is a shift between Glen Meyer and later periods where more Onondaga is directed to formal artefacts, hardly a major contradiction given the loss of Kettle Point chert. Highly suggestive of continuity are the observations in the section of Chapter 6 titled Change in Lithic Industry Through Time where the coefficients of similarity were calculated between the three periods for the percentages of the various flake types. This evidence provides a very strong indication of a gradual change through time. Also supporting continuity is observation 10 in section of Chapter 6 titled Formal and Informal Artefact Variation where, in considering formal artefacts, the amount of Kettle Point chert varies, but all periods have about the same relative proportions in both the formal artefacts and the debitage. When access is curtailed during the MOI period, the chert continues to be used in the same way. In general, the split on this hypothesis between the two implications derives from a weakness in the original set of implications. Clearly, the chert industry remains very much the same despite a major curtailment in access to Kettle Point chert. Ultimately, as will be discussed below, it is not the drop in access to Kettle Point chert that invalidates the time-depth of the down-the-line hypothesis but the fact that a down-the-line acquisition is only demonstrable in Neutral times and possibly during the MOI. During Glen Meyer times there is a completely different acquisition pattern and the difference between that and the later pattern is graphically evident in the distance decay regression lines (Figure 13).
The major enigma that has been clearly established with this study is the varying accessibility to Kettle Point chert through time. As this result has implications for how the organization of the technology of chert acquisition articulates with the larger cultural system some consideration of potential causes is germane. Potential causes of this phenomena could be either environmental or social.
One potential environmental source of the curtailment at the time of the transition from Early to MOI times was suggested earlier in that perhaps higher than normal lake levels may be a factor. As the primary sources are offshore at Kettle Point (Janusas 1984) a rise in lake levels could have blocked access to Kettle Point chert or at least made acquisition a much more difficult task. Work on fluctuating lake levels has been conducted by Larsen (1985) that demonstrates a pattern that is exactly opposite to what would be expected if high lake levels made access more difficult. This work demonstrates that lake levels were higher during Glen Meyer times but actually dropped at about the same time as the transition to the MOI stage. Clearly lake levels are not a factor blocking access. Beyond lake levels it is difficult to imagine any strictly environmental factors that would curtail access to the source.
The fact that the drop in access occurs with the advent of the MOI stage is highly suggestive of social factors being the primary cause. The Glen Meyer acquisition pattern had been relatively stable for 200-300 years and the termination of that pattern at the time of the transition combined with the fact that once the Neutral pattern is established it also stays relatively stable for a period of time is almost conclusive proof of social factors impacting the ability of people to obtain Kettle Point chert immediately after the transition. The following discussion explores several potential social factors that could have been instrumental in disrupting the access to Kettle Point chert.
One potential cause that would be raised in some archaeological circles is the Pickering conquest hypothesis proposed by Wright (1966, 1992). This hypothesis claims that the formation to the MOI stage was the result of the conquest of the Glen Meyer branch by the Pickering branch of the EOI with the result being the Uren substage of the MOI was primarily derived from the dominant Pickering culture. Some Glen Meyer traits are thought to have been retained as the result of captive Glen Meyer women being adopted by the Pickering conquerors (Wright 1992). Indeed, the observations developed herein could (and probably will) be taken as evidence of the conquest. If one were predisposed to the conquest hypothesis, one need only look to the Dorchester site (AfHgto see the Aevidence@. Access to Kettle Point chert is severely curtailed as Dorchester represents the leading edge of the gradual Pickering displacement of the Glen Meyer people. Access is blocked by hostile Glen Meyer people to the west. There is also a difference in the lithic industry (Keron 2000) in that a new notched projectile point style has replaced the typical triangular Glen Meyer forms like those recovered from the nearby and slightly earlier Calvert site (Timmins 1997). Further there is a heavy reliance on Onondaga chert that is found to the east of the site in territory controlled by Pickering (and presumably friendly) people.
As is normal in the conquest debate the importance of the pros and cons usually correlates well with whether the analyst wants to emphasize differences or similarities in the data. The two key differences in lithic technology are the access to Kettle Point chert and the introduction of a new projectile point style, neither of which is startling given the extent of the social changes occurring at that point in time. Onondaga chert, while it has a higher use at Dorchester is accessible at all time periods. One of the observations recorded here is the difference between the debitage industry calculated for a number of EOI and MOI sites (Chapter 6-Changes in Lithic Industry Through Time) that shows the Coefficient of Similarity between the two stages as being 186.8. The two industries are almost identical. That is doubly significant when Wright (1992), in defending the conquest hypothesis, applies the same statistic to a number of Pickering, Glen Myer and Uren traits and accepts coefficients of similarity of between 100 and 150 as demonstrating the continuity between Pickering and Uren. If a conquest is to explain the drop into the MOI period, how does one explain the significant increase in use of Kettle Point chert into the late period. No one would seriously introduce a second conquest, so the question remains: Awhy should a conquest explain the earlier drop?@ That leaves only the introduction of a new projectile point style which will be discussed below. Given the lack of definitive evidence and the weakness of the arguments for a conquest as is evident in reading Wright (1992), it is highly unlikely that the Pickering conquest hypothesis accounts for the curtailment of access to Kettle Point chert in the MOI stage. As was stated earlier (Keron 1986: 156): Awhatever the explanation (for the loss of access to Kettle Point chert)... the answer lies towards the (chert) source not to the east@.
Another potential source of the curtailment is related to the rapid cultural changes taking place during the transition. Not all aspects of the classic Iroquoian culture pattern need not have developed at exactly the same time. If the cultural norm where resources were owned by kin groups had been adopted but the down-the-line exchange patterns had not yet been established, then access to high quality chert would have been impeded. In other words, the antecedent mode of direct acquisition was made obsolete by a heightened sense of territoriality and ownership of specific resources. However, an inter-group mechanism to allow exchange of the newly owned resources had not yet evolved.
Certainly, access to Kettle Point chert drops off and then gradually rises through the MOI stage. However, forms of exchange are almost universal in human society so that explanation is weak. Further, while access to Kettle Point chert does drop off, access to Onondaga is not affected in the least. In fact, all periods seem to have equal access to it.
So if it was a case that the new exchange mechanisms had not yet developed, it should impact all sources equally not just one. Furthermore, if the MOI sites are taken as a whole, the distance decay regression line (Figure 10) is similar to that during the Neutral period (Figure 11) in shape but it is much lower. This evidence, plus the established pattern of internal variation on Middleport sites showing unequal access to Kettle Point chert, would seem to imply that the new cultural pattern involving down-the-line exchange had been quickly adopted, most likely building on earlier exchange relationships.
Yet another potential explanation involves the adoption of more esoteric cultural values that make one chert source predominant. The Early Woodland predilection for use of Onondaga chert is one example (Ellis et al 1988; Granger 1978) while another is the selection by Early Paleoindian groups of a particular source that is frequently used to the exception of all others. Ellis (1989) has suggested that this was used as a group identifier as it became associated with the pooling of risk. However, the groups in question here did continue to use Kettle Point chert, albeit in reduced amounts, as well as Onondaga and local till chert; so the adoption of another source as a signalling mechanism is unlikely with the possible exception of the Lawson site to be discussed below. The opposite situation would be where for higher cultural reasons a particular chert source becomes proscribed. This explanation has been proposed as a potential reason for the post Hopewell aversion to Flint Ridge, Ohio chalcedony (Lepper et al.
2001). However, there is a healthy use of Kettle Point chert by Middleport times in one area of the Drumholm site and even during the Uren period, people at the Willcock site had some form of access (Poulton 1985a); so an aversion to Kettle Point chert does not seem reasonable.
While the possibility of other internal factors can not be discounted, another source of social explanations lies in relations with neighbouring non-Iroquoian groups such as the Western Basin people (Murphy and Ferris 1990) who are generally believed to be Algonkian speakers living west of the study area. A potential explanation of the curtailment of access to Kettle Point chert is that the source was either blocked or very dangerous due to hostilities with Western Basin peoples.