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Boundary Conditions

Macrobotanical Remains and the Oliver Phase of Central Indiana, A.D. 1200-1450

Written by Leslie L. Bush

Publication Year: 2004

Prehistoric plant use in the Late Woodland of central Indiana.

This book explores the extent to which foodways, an important marker of group identity, can be recognized in charred macrobotanical remains from archaeological sites. From analysis of mere bits of burned plants we can discern what ancient people chose to eat, and how they cooked it, stored it, and preserved it.

Leslie Bush compares archaeobotanical remains from 13 Oliver Phase sites in Indiana to other late prehistoric sites through correspondence analysis. The Oliver area is adjacent to the territories of three of the largest and best-known archaeological cultures of the region—Mississippian, Fort Ancient, and Oneota—so findings about Oliver foodways have implications for studies of migration, ethnogenesis, social risk, and culture contact. Historical records of three Native American tribes (Shawnee, Miami, and Huron) are also examined for potential insights into Oliver foodways.

The study determines that people who inhabited central Indiana during late prehistoric times had a distinctive signature of plant use that separates them from other archaeological groups, not just in space and time but also in ideas about appropriate uses of plants. The uniqueness of the Oliver botanical pattern is found to lie in the choice of particular crops, the intensity of growing versus gathering, and the use of a large number of wild resources.

Published by: The University of Alabama Press


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pp. vii-viii

List of Figures

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pp. ix-x

List of Tables

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pp. xi-xii

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pp. xiii-xvi

Much of the archaeobotanical data in this book and funding for the excavations that produced them were made possible because of the support of Christopher S. Peebles and the Glenn A. Black Laboratory of Archaeology, Indiana...

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1. Defining Oliver

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pp. 1-6

When James B. Grifin wrote his entry on the Late Prehistory of the Ohio Valley for the Handbook of North American Indians, he was able to indicate the “Oliver complex” only as a vaguely placed marker on his map of the region, and he could summarize what was then known about it in four short ...

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2. Food, Identity, and Charcoal

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pp. 7-25

One goal of this research project is to discern a relationship between charred macrobotanical remains and foodways, specifically foodways that may be shared at the level of an archaeological unit such as Oliver and so may reflect some sort of group identity...

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3. Archaeological and Ecological Background

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pp. 26-50

Chapters 1 and 2 outlined the theoretical background for this study of Oliver uses of plants. This chapter provides the archaeological and ecological background. To help characterize Oliver foodways as they relate to plant use, the study includes not only sites that have been called Oliver but also...

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4. Methods Used in the Selection, Recovery, and Analysis of Macrobotanical Samples

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pp. 51-62

The primary criterion of inclusion for sites in this study was the availability of flootation-processed botanical remains from an Oliver component. The sample consists of all sites known to the author where flotation-processed macroremains have been recovered from components of unequivocal Oliver phase affiliation...

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5. Oliver Sites and Their Macrobotanical Remains

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pp. 63-102

This chapter presents the Oliver macrobotanical data from 14 sites along with a brief sketch of their archaeological contexts. The contextual information includes such details as which sites yielded remains from midden, house floors, or trash pits, and the soils and other resources in the immediate site vicinity...

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6. Quantitative Analysis of Macrobotanical Remains from Oliver and Other Native American Sites in the Eastern Woodlands

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pp. 103-125

METHODS FOR COMPARING MACROBOTANICAL DATASETS. Anyone who has sat through many archaeological presentations has been subjected at some point to a single slide on which is printed a table detailing the entire macrobotanical (or lithic or faunal or ceramic) assemblage from a site...

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7. Implications of the Oliver Macrobotanical Pattern for Other Aspects of Oliver Life

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pp. 126-132

SUMMARY OF THE FINDINGS. Oliver macrobotanical remains have been examined here by describing their internal variation (intrasite and intersite), consideration of their archaeological contexts, and most importantly, by comparing them to macrobotanical assemblages at other sites in the Eastern Woodlands. The exercise was conducted to d iscern Oliver foodways—or at least the plant-related aspects of such foodways...

Appendix: Diagnostic Statistics for Correspondence Analysis

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pp. 133-142

References Cited

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pp. 143-174


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pp. 175-182

E-ISBN-13: 9780817383411
Print-ISBN-13: 9780817351410

Page Count: 200
Publication Year: 2004

OCLC Number: 647930641
MUSE Marc Record: Download for Boundary Conditions

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Subject Headings

  • Indians of North America -- Food -- Indiana.
  • Indians of North America -- Ethnobotany -- Indiana.
  • Indians of North America -- Indiana -- Antiquities.
  • Plant remains (Archaeology) -- Indiana.
  • Paleoethnobotany -- Indiana.
  • Indiana -- Antiquities.
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