THE CIRCULATION OF SHELL AND COPPER OBJECTS IN THE CIRCA 1450- 1600 HAUDENOSAUNEE HOMELAND
This dissertation examines the circulation of nonlocal objects in the circa 1450-1600 Haudenosaunee (Iroquois) homeland, which stretched across what is today central New York State. I examine the exchange of marine shell and cuprous objects into and within this region. Both materials originated outside traditional Haudenosaunee territory: marine shell came from the coasts of eastern North America, while cuprous materials originated either in the Upper Great Lakes region of North America or Europe. I assess what types of marine shell and cuprous materials were (and were not) acquired by certain communities and when; where the materials originated and where they were subsequently distributed; and by what route(s) they arrived in Haudenosaunee territory. Using macroscopic assessments, digital radiograph imaging, X-ray fluorescence spectrometry, and Geographical Information Systems (GIS) mapping, I analyze artifact forms, manufacturing techniques, sources of raw materials, and distributions of artifacts. Further, I test and refine regional settlement relocation sequences and in turn, improve temporal understandings of the acquisition of cuprous and shell materials by employing radiocarbon dating and Bayesian chronological modeling. By interpreting exchange good data alongside radiocarbon data, I provide a new assessment of the timing and nature of exchange in the circa 1450-1600 Haudenosaunee region. Results indicate that exchange goods were differently distributed across the Haudenosaunee region during this period, suggesting that communities, clans, or families decided whether or not to participate in exchange networks and to what extent - highlighting the often-overlooked effects of small group agency in the past. Further analysis reveals that different networks moved shell and cuprous objects and that both types of materials initially entered the Haudenosaunee region at the eastern and western borders and were subsequently exchanged towards the interior – suggesting the presence of alliances between groups, enabling freedom of movement across the Haudenosaunee region during this period.
copper; Haudenosaunee; Iroquois; northeastern North America; radiocarbon dating; shell
Jordan, Kurt Anders
Parmenter, Jon W.; Manning, Sturt
Ph. D., Anthropology
Doctor of Philosophy
dissertation or thesis