Circular Villages in the Monongahela Tradition

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  • Format: Hardcover
  • Copyright: 2007-08-19
  • Publisher: Univ of Alabama Pr
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Between A.D. 1000 and 1635, the inhabitants of southwestern Pennsylvania and portions of adjacent states-known to archaeologists as the Monongahela Culture or Tradition-began to reside regularly in ring-shaped village settlements. These circular settlements consisted of dwellings around a central plaza. A cross-cultural and cross-temporal review of archaeological, ethnohistorical, and ethnographic cases demonstrates that this settlement form appeared repeatedly and independently worldwide, including throughout portions of the Eastern Woodlands, among the Plains Indians, and in Central and South America. Specific archaeological cases are drawn from Somerset County, Pennsylvania, that has the largest number of completely excavated Monongahela villages. Most of these villages, excavated in the 1930s as federal relief projects, were recently dated. Full analysis of the extensive excavations reveals not only the geometric architectural patterning of the villages, but enables an analysis of the social groupings, population estimates, and economic status of residents who inhabited the circular villages. Circular patterning can be revealed at less fully excavated archaeological sites. Focused test excavations can help confirm circular village plans without extensive and destructive excavations.

Author Biography

Bernard K. Means is Visiting Assistant Professor of Anthropology at Washington and Lee University.

Table of Contents

List of Illustrationsp. vii
Acknowledgmentsp. ix
Village Spatial Layouts and Social Organizationsp. 1
A Review of the Late Prehistoric Monongahela Tradition and the New Chronology for Allegheny Mountains Villagesp. 13
Villages, Communities, and Social Organizationsp. 31
Building Models of Village Spatial and Social Organizationsp. 40
Models and Hypotheses Related to Community Organizationp. 69
Data Sources, Variables, and Analytical Approachesp. 86
Modeling Community Patterning from Select Village Components in the Allegheny Mountains Regionp. 106
Comparative Analyses from Modeling Individual Village Componentsp. 145
Implications Drawn from Interpreting Community Organization through Village Spatial Layoutsp. 155
References Citedp. 165
Indexp. 189
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