«By James R. Keron Graduate Program in Anthropology Submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Arts Faculty of ...»
Our focus on the specific Glen Meyer clusters contains the assumption that the cluster represents a corporate group occupying that territory through time and naturally leads to the implicit assumption that the archaeological clusters equate to the band=s territory. For example, Timmins (1997:227) suggests that EOI village locations and hunting territories may have been Atenaciously protected against incursions by outsiders@ and that territoriality may have been a source of tension between EOI communities. While this is a reasonable assumption, there is a natural tendency to equate the group=s cluster with a territory that may have been meaningful to the occupants of the site. What is presented here is a picture of people who were ranging widely over the southwest part of the province. That then leads to a third implication regarding the relationships between the various Glen Meyer clusters in the area. If the movement suggested by the lithic acquisition pattern occurred, then there was obviously nothing in the intergroup relationships that restricted movement through the intervening territory. For the group at Dorchester, there would be no less than three distinct clusters between them and Kettle Point that would need to traversed.
At the risk of stressing differences over similarities, it could be stated that the Glen Meyer acquisition pattern had more in common with earlier organization of acquisition technology that it did with the later pattern that emerged during MOI times.
The interesting anomaly of the McGrath Site (Poulton 1985a) provides an example that is not unlike that of the Small Point Archaic (Ellis and Spence 1997). It is also interesting in that being a temporary campsite the picture of chert acquisition is fine-grained as opposed to that observed in base village sites which would be coarse-grained (Binford 1980). McGrath, being a short occupation, presents a better snapshot of one point in the acquisition cycle whereas villages would be the average of years of acquisition. There are however, differences in the organization of technology to the Small Point Archaic.
Given the shift to increased sedentism, the technology during Glen Meyer times, has shifted to greater use of expedient tools much as Parry and Kelly (1987) indicate was happening broadly across the continent in the Woodland period. So while the organization is changing that portion of it associated with chert acquisition is still similar to earlier times.
While the evidence is not as strong given the site sample available as would be preferred, it appears that with the onset of the MOI significant changes occurred in the social structure of the antecedent Glen Meyer groups. Much has been written regarding changes in settlement patterns and ceramic decoration styles (see Dodd et al. 1990 or Warrick 2000) and all of this indicates substantial socio-cultural changes that need not be summarized here. From the perspective of the organization of lithic technology there is a major shift in the ideology surrounding acquisition of chert. From what would seem an egalitarian system where all people had equal access to the source, there is a radical change that incorporates the concept of ownership into the society. Now certain corporate groups own the source and have the right to trade this to other trade partners who own the trade route to the exclusion of others in their village and other downstream partners in the exchange system. Explanation of why this happened is beyond the scope of this study but, as noted earlier, the same thing has been demonstrated in the American Southwest (Findlow and Bolognese 1982) also in concert with evidence of increasing social complexity so it would seem that a causative explanation might be feasible. The other significant trend at the transition to the MOI is the curtailment of access to Kettle Point chert very likely due to hostile interaction with Western Basin peoples. This curtailment results in a number of adaptations in the underlying organization of technology as it relates to the use of stone for various artefact classes. The high quality chert that can be obtained is cycled more into formal artefacts and the shortage is taken up with increased use of local till chert.
Despite these differences between the EOI and the MOI, there are not any significant changes in the underlying lithic usage system. This continuity is clearly evidenced by the similarity of the various percentages of flake types in the assemblage.
The coefficient of similarity is very high strongly suggesting that while there may have been changes in the acquisition of chert and the chert sources accessible, the underlying uses to which it was put were fundamentally the same.
What emerges during the Neutral period is a picture of chert acquisition graphically depicted in Figure 19 that is drawn from the perspective of one participant in the system identified by the stick person within AMy Village@. He is the member of a lineage that has an upstream trading partner that provides Kettle Point chert and in turn passes a portion of it on to two downstream partners, one in a more easterly village and the other a second lineage in the same village. The Kettle Point chert enters a pool in the home village owned by the lineage with potential percentages indicated by the pie charts.
From the pool owned by AMy Lineage@ it moves to various local users, to the lineage=s cabin sites, and to various downstream partners. In the same village is a second lineage or possibly clan segment that owns a trade route with an upstream partner to the south along Lake Erie who supplies Onondaga chert into a pool owned by that lineage. From here some of it is exchanged with Amy lineage@ possibly in return for Kettle Point chert.
The Onondaga chert is added to AMy Lineage=s@ pool and is disseminated to various uses from there. One additional factor is that some of the chert could have been fashioned into projectile points that may have been exchanged as is or possibly (pure speculation) as a part of a finished arrow similar to that described by Weissner (1982). AMy lineage@ will also acquire chert in other ways mostly embedded in other activities. One source will be from the lineage=s cabin site(s) where local till chert will be gathered during normal agricultural or other extractive activities. This material will be in the form of raw cobbles. Initial reduction would take place in the cabin site or possibly at the original find spot. Some of this would be used in the cabin site location and some potentially returned to the home village. Local till chert could also be obtained in daily activities originating at the home village. A small and frequently ignored source of material is recycling from earlier archaeological sites. Earlier projectile point styles are almost invariably found in Iroquoian contexts with collection by Iroquoian people being a generally accepted explanation. Indeed, Tooker (1991) reports that such items would be regarded as charms or talismans. If earlier projectile points are being recovered it is extremely likely that usable flakes will also be retained from earlier sites. This means of acquisition might explain the odd piece of Flint Ridge chalcedony observed in the analysis.
What is truly puzzling is the almost obsessive use of Kettle Point chert at the Lawson site. This focus seems out of all proportion to what would actually be necessary to satisfy the needs of a lithic technology that was basically expedient. While it has been demonstrated that high quality chert is preferred over local till chert, even this does not explain the almost sole focus on Kettle Point chert. Certainly any of the earlier people were quite capable of living with much lower amounts of Kettle Point chert in their technology. Usually where patterns emerge that differ significantly from what would seem reasonable from the optimal economic perspective that is a sign that there are alternate social explanations that lead to the phenomena. One such explanation that has been demonstrated/suggested elsewhere (Ellis 1989; Weissner 1982) in the past involves signaling group identification. If Western Basin peoples did severely curtail access by the London area Iroquoian people early in the MOI and if the Iroquoian people eventually gained the upper hand and pushed back the Western Basin people opening the source, then use of Kettle Point chert may have become associated with their self-image as a force with which to be reckoned in Iroquoian warfare. Indeed, the preference may even extend into the historic era where Jamieson (1984) notes use of Kettle Point chert amongst the historic Neutral in the group inhabiting the Spencer and Bronte Creek drainages. While her explanation involves trade with the Petun, an equally likely and more probable source for some of the chert observed there is embedded procurement by former western Neutral peoples involved in warfare with the Assistaronon or Fire Nation who are most likely comprised of a number of Algonkian speaking groups (see Heidenreich 1988) to the west. Indeed, Lennox and Fitzgerald (1990: 418) argue that the high percentage of shell-tempered pottery, typical of contemporaneous Western Basin people, found in this same cluster is evidence of the historically documented warfare with the Assistaronon and that the descendants of the western (i.e. London area) Neutral people were resident in this one cluster during the historic period. Another interesting historic site is the Horner Creek site (Lennox 1995b) where 60% of the chert is Kettle Point. This site may well represent a hunting camp occupied by former western Neutral people returning from the west, possibly from a raid on the Assistaronon. Of course, all this speculation goes beyond the capability of the data analyzed in this study but does not seem unreasonable.
Finally, it should be noted that the data collected can undoubtably be used to delve deeper into the organization of Iroquoian lithic technology but that will require more time and analytical space than is available here. In any event, this study has clearly demonstrated the value of wider comparative study of the organization of lithic technology as well as identifying several diachronic trends during the Iroquoian occupation of the London area. It is hoped that subsequent studies will adjust to correct for some of the shortcomings here and move our understanding of the past forward into the ever shifting present.
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