Anthropology, Department of


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Published in Nebraska Anthropologist Vol. 23 (2008). Copyright © Erin C. Dempsey; published by The University of Nebraska-Lincoln AnthroGroup.


This paper will bring to light the problems existing in the current, working chronology employed in Woodland Period archaeology and determine how, possibly, these problems can be alleviated. I assert that creating new chronologies that speak to specific research questions and doing away with a static and unchanging culture-historical perspective in Woodland Period archaeology will help archaeologists better investigate how people lived and interacted during this time and, more importantly, how they facilitated and experienced cultural change in the Eastern Woodlands of North America. By lifting the framework culture history has superimposed on the archaeology of Woodland peoples (i.e. Adena, Hopewell, Fort Ancient, and early Late Woodland), it may be possible to see cultural patterns that were previously truncated, altered, or overshadowed. I hope that this new treatment of chronology as an indicator of change through time will help archaeologists achieve a greater understanding of cultural patterns in the Woodland Period and place activities such as earthwork and mound construction, ritual, and habitation in a broader context than culture history currently allows.

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