cover of book

Societies in Eclipse: Archaeology of the Eastern Woodlands Indians, A.D. 1400-1700
edited by David S. Brose, C. Wesley Cowan and Robert C. Mainfort, Jr.
contributions by David Hurst Thomas, Dean R. Snow, R. P. Stephen Davis, Jr, H. Trawick Ward, Charles William Johnson, Jeffrey L. Hantman, C. Wesley Cowan, William R Fitzgerald, Robert C. Mainfort, Marvin T. Smith, Robert F. Sasso, William H. Marquardt, Stephen Williams, David G. Anderson, Jim Bradley, David S. Brose, Penelope Ballard Drooker and George R. Milner
University of Alabama Press, 2001
eISBN: 978-0-8173-8339-8 | Paper: 978-0-8173-5352-0

Combines recent research with insights from anthropology, historiography, and oral tradition to examine the cultural landscape preceding and immediately following the arrival of Europeans

After establishing the distribution of prehistoric and historic populations from the northeastern Appalachian forests to the southern trans-Mississippian prairies, the contributors consider the archaeological and cultural record of several specific groups, including Mohawk and Onondaga, Monacan, Coosa, and Calusa. For each, they present new evidence of cultural changes prior to European contact, including populations movements triggered by the Little Ice Age (AD 1550–1770), shifting exchange and warfare networks, geological restriction of effective maize subsistence, and use of empty hunting territories as buffers between politically unstable neighbors. The contributors also trace European influences, including the devastation caused by European-introduced epidemics and the paths of European trade goods that transformed existing Native American-exchange networks.

While the profound effects of European explorers, missionaries, and traders on Eastern Woodlands tribes cannot be denied, the archaeological evidence suggests that several indigenous societies were already in the process of redefinition prior to European contact. The essays gathered here show that, whether formed in response to natural or human forces, cultural change may be traced through archaeological artifacts, which play a critical role in answering current questions regarding cultural persistence.
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