«By James R. Keron Graduate Program in Anthropology Submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Arts Faculty of ...»
1939) locating, excavating and publishing reports on a number of sites including some within the current study area. In the mid-20th century, when a significant number of sites had been located and documented, Iroquoian archaeology moved into a synthetic phase with attempts to pull together the broad picture of what happened during prehistory. With the establishment of the Ain situ@ hypothesis by Richard MacNeish (1952), some antiquity to the tradition was established and further refinements culminated in the publication of J.V. Wright=s The Ontario Iroquois Tradition in 1966. Wright established a framework that has remained largely intact ever since as a broad organizing paradigm for Ontario Iroquoian research. The work of J. Norman Emerson in this period should also be noted (e.g. Emerson 1956, 1968) as well as Frank Ridley (e.g. 1952, 1961). The focus of attention of much of this work was the ceramic styles that were abundantly evident in the archaeological record and which were used to develop the relative chronologies and spatial relationships of sites. In general, other than simply noting and providing brief descriptions of lithic material in site reports, the lithics were largely ignored.
The earliest substantive work on Iroquoian lithic research was done by William Fox who around 1970 applied his interest in lithics to Iroquoian research. For example, see the lithic analysis paper (Fox 1971) on the Maurice Village Site. The approach he took, as described in Fox (1990), was to execute a long term study of Iroquoian lithics focusing on building a database from a broad focus of sites with comparable data on formal artefacts especially projectile points and scrapers. However, at the time there was little information on chert sources being used by the native peoples of southern Ontario so an ancillary project was necessary to locate and identify those chert sources. His contributions here, along with those of others, put us in the position now where chert sources for the area are well understood and documented ( Eley and von Bitter 1989; Fox 1979e; Janusas 1984). Fox documented and published reports on the lithic assemblages from a number of sites of Petun and Huron provenience (see Fox 1979a, 1979b, 1979c, 1979d, 1980a, 1981a, 1984). He also provided definitions for a number of projectile point styles (Fox 1981b, 1981c, 1981d, 1982a, 1982b) and identified the foliate biface as a distinctive Iroquoian artefact form (Fox 1981e, 1982c). Of special note were two papers that bear directly on this study. In AOf Projectile Points and Politics@ (Fox 1980b), he compared projectile points from several western Neutral sites with those from Western Basin tradition sites, noting that certain notched triangular projectile points found on Western Basin sites are best explained as being derived from Neutral sites further to the east. More importantly to this thesis, he clearly established (Fox 1990) a lithic acquisition pattern for the Odawa, that involved exchange of chert with the Petun. The chert was acquired by the Odawa, during regular movements along lake shores, carried to the Collingwood area and then exchanged to the local Iroquoian groups. While chert is never mentioned per se by the 17th century European writers, they do confirm the exchange system operating between the Odawa and the Petun in other goods that have been identified archaeologically. The importance to this immediate study is the clear demonstration that chert was exchanged in the early historic period and that the same pattern can be observed on prehistoric sites.
For the last twenty-five years inclusion of lithic analysis has been standard for site reports of Iroquoian archaeological sites. Notable here was Paul Lennox with the publication of his MA thesis (Lennox 1981) and many subsequent reports (e.g. Lennox 1982, 1986). The debitage analysis he introduced has been adopted by several cultural resource management firms. A very detailed lithic analysis was included with the Calvert site (Timmins 1997) and also of note is work performed by Poulton (e.g. 1985a). An interesting internal analysis of debitage was included in the Myers Road report (Ramsden et al. 1998) that indicated some of the taphonomic/ formation processes taking place with regards to that material.
Despite the growing body of information contained within site reports, not much synthetic analysis has been performed. Both Janusas (1984) and Reid (1986) include information with respect to distance decay in Late Woodland assemblages of Kettle Point chert within the broader studies. The single major synthetic work on Iroquoian lithics is that of Jamieson (1984) who examined chert acquisition and use through time amongst the proto-historic and historic Neutral by comparing both debitage and tool types from seven large sites from three different spatial clusters. Her study links changes in Neutral lithic reduction and acquisition to the larger social environment, both internal to the Neutral peoples and their relations with other adjacent cultural groups. Of particular note is her claim that a down-the-line exchange system existed within the Neutral confederacy for distribution of Onondaga chert and the occurrence of exotic chert such as Kettle Point chert and Collingwood chert in the northerly cluster on Spencer and Bronte Creeks (Jamieson 1984:381) which she concluded occurred as a result of contact with the Petun to the north.
Chapter 2: The Study Area: Physiography, Culture History and Site Sample The primary study area (See Figures 1, 2 and 3) covered by this analysis is the southern and central portions of the County of Middlesex, in the Province of Ontario.
The sites are located in the Townships of North Dorchester, Westminster, London, Lobo and Caradoc. One site, the Gravel Pit site (AfHf-7) is in South Dorchester Township in Elgin County. What follows is a brief overview of the physical and natural characteristics of the study area. For more detailed descriptions, the reader is referred to Williamson (1985), Pearce (1996) and Timmins (1997).
The main drainage system in the study area is the Thames River which roughly runs from east to west through the whole study area and thence to the west to Lake St.
Clair. The extreme southeast portion of the study area, in the vicinity of Whittaker Lake, drains to the west and south through Kettle Creek to Lake Erie. The extreme northwest drains to the west via the Sydenham River which also flows south and west to Lake St.
Clair. There are also numerous creeks draining to the Thames throughout the area.
Physiography The area includes three different regions as defined by Chapman and Putnam (1984): the Stratford till plain, the Caradoc sand plain and the Mount Elgin ridges (see Figure 4 for approximate locations of these regions). The Mount Elgin ridges region is found south of the Thames River and is characterized by a series of parallel recessional moraines formed by the Lake Erie ice lobe. The moraines run east-west starting west of Lambeth and continuing into Oxford county to the east. The Ingersoll moraine starts in the Byron area and runs to the east into Oxford County to a point south of Ingersoll.
Running parallel to this and several kilometres to the south is the Westminster moraine.
The land between these two moraines drains to the west via Dingman Creek from a point south of Dorchester. To the east it drains via Reynolds Creek which cuts through the Ingersoll moraine at Putnam. The land south of the Westminster moraine is drained by Kettle Creek which flows into Lake Erie from a point in the extreme southeast of the study area. The land on the moraines is generally rolling and there are a number of small kettle lakes, such as Whittaker Lake, Pond Mills and the Westminster Ponds. The soils on the moraines are predominantly silty clay or calcareous clay while the valleys between can vary from clay to sand and gravel. In the Dingman Creek drainage the soil is predominantly clay although numerous swampy areas of black muck are found, mostly in the center of the valley.
The second physiographic region is the Caradoc sand plain. The major portion of this plain occupies the western end of the study area in the township of Caradoc.
However, a portion of it extends along the Thames River in the study area right to the edge of Oxford County and the sandy soils in the Dorchester area are part of this same plain. This eastwards extension is called the London annex by Chapman and Putnam (1984). The London annex is a narrow belt sandwiched between the Mount Elgin ridges and the Stratford till plain. The main part of the Caradoc sand plain lies to the west and was formed at the end of the last glaciation when water levels receded to Lake Whittlesey (ca. 13,500 BP) and the Thames spillway deposited a layer of sand in a broad delta over this area. The land there is generally flat with a few rolling hills composed of old dunes in the Mount Bridges area. The London annex was formed earlier as the glaciers receded and layers of sand and gravel were deposited in small plains and terraces along the Thames River spillway. In Caradoc township the soils are of three types, Fox sandy loam, Berrien sandy loam and Oshtemo sand. Along the London annex, the soils are London loam, Fox sandy loam and Burford gravelly loam. In the Dorchester area there is a large area of black muck known as the Dorchester swamp that is found between the Ingersoll moraine and the Thames River. A small creek drains this area to the northwest into the Thames River. In Caradoc township, several small creeks, including the Mill Stream and Komoka Creek, drain the area west of Delaware to the Thames River while the western part of the township drains to the west via several small creeks into the Sydenham River in the Strathroy vicinity.
The third major physiographic region is the Stratford till plain. This area extends some distance to the northeast and only the extreme southwestern portion lies within the study area. This area is predominantly till plain. However, in the portion within this study area there are several recessional moraines which make the topography similar to the Mount Elgin ridges (Chapman and Putnam, 1984). The soils are predominantly a calcareous clay till and sand and gravel are rare. This portion of the study area is bounded on the west by the Lucan moraine. There are two other smaller unnamed moraines between this moraine and London. The area east of the Lucan moraine is drained by Oxbow Creek which drains southward into the Thames River near Komoka and occupies a glacial spillway. Further east in northwest London, the Medway Creek drains land to the north into the Thames River between the two unnamed moraines.
The entire area is found within the Niagara region of the Deciduous Forest Region (Rowe 1972). At the time the land was first surveyed for European settlement (Finlay 1978), the higher ground was mostly maple-beech climax forest. Stands of white pine are frequently found as well, particularly in the Caradoc sand plain, where large tracts are found in the area west of Delaware and from there in a discontinuous belt towards Strathroy. Tamarack swamps are also found in the less well-drained land as is a mix of black willow, silver maple, red maple, bur oak and black ash. The northern boundary of the Carolinian Forest Region is found along the southern boundary of the study area and numerous Carolinian forest species are found as sub-species within the area. (e.g. hickory, sycamore, and black walnut).
Iroquoian Culture History The study area has been occupied throughout the Late Woodland period by Iroquoian groups. Using Wright=s (1966) definitions, the Early Ontario Iroquoian Stage (EOI) is represented by Glen Meyer branch peoples who are present around AD 1000.
This development is succeeded by the Middle Ontario Iroquoian stage (MOI) around AD
1300. The MOI is divided into two substages, the Uren substage that is followed by the Middleport substage. Around AD 1400, the Late Ontario Iroquoian Stage (LOI) commences and continues until the Neutral groups leave the region in late prehistoric times (see Figure 5 for a schematic depiction of the various stages, sub-stages and cultural groups). It should be noted that Wright=s scheme, while still largely intact and used as the taxonomic basis for Ontario Iroquoian research, has been challenged on several fronts.
There are two issues here which are germane to the current study. First, the hypothesis by Wright (1966), that a conquest of the southwestern Glen Meyer people by the southeastern Ontario Pickering people occurred around the year AD 1300 has been largely rejected by the archaeological community. Further debate on this topic appears in Wright (1990, 1992) and Finlayson (1998). A number of other authors conclude that there is a continuous sequence in the area with no evidence for a disruptive conquest (Pearce 1984; Timmins 1997; Williamson 1990). If one were to assume as did Wright (1966) that the Glen Meyer people are Iroquoian, then the presence or absence of a conquest is not a factor that will affect this study since the focus is Iroquoian people in the London area. A possible risk comes with the as yet tentative suggestion by Finlayson (1998) that the Glen Meyer people were Algonkian. The first point here is that this is far from being substantiated and indeed, the evidence for and Algonkian affiliation is not really made clear. Moreover, that argument must face the problem that there are clear stylistic boundaries with the Western Basin people to the west which most do regard as Algonkian (Murphy and Ferris 1990) while there do not appear to be clear boundaries between the Pickering and Glen Meyer to the east. In fact, the similarity between early Pickering and Glen Meyer has led Bursey (1994) to conclude that the so-called Pickering sites in the Crawford lake area are really Glen Meyer based on stylistic similarities.
Others dismiss a clear distinction between Glen Meyer and Pickering out of hand (e.g.
Warrick 2001). This argument was answered by Finlayson (1998) but the differentiation shifts to a finer level where the distinction is based on the presence of certain ceramic features such as gaming discs. In any event, there is a much clearer and recognizable boundary to the west than there is to the east. Secondly, the current study, in adopting Wright=s original formulation, is partially insulated from the problems a conquest would introduce. The boundaries chosen here to control for time are identical to the boundaries that are in dispute. Thus, if in the future incontrovertible proof that the Glen Meyer branch peoples are Algonkian arises, then the worst case is that the word AIroquoian@ might have to be changed to ALate Woodland@.