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Migration in Prehistory: The Northern Iroquoian Case

Dean R. Snow
American Antiquity
Vol. 60, No. 1 (Jan., 1995), pp. 59-79
DOI: 10.2307/282076
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/282076
Page Count: 21
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Abstract

The archaeology of the Northern Iroquoians has been described in terms of an in situ development out of Point Peninsula culture for half a century. Recently recognized anomalies prompt revision of the in situ hypothesis in favor of one allowing for the derivation of Northern Iroquoians by migration from Clemson's Island culture following A.D. 900. Multifamily dwellings and maize horticulture are argued to have been adaptive advantages that facilitated the incursion. Migration is found to be a viable alternative, and gradualist assumptions about the origins of matrilocality and horticulture are challenged. An alternative hypothesis provides a clear source and beginning date for subsequent development and illuminates some demographic mechanisms. The case illuminates both the processes by which societies propagate across time and space and the independent inferential processes of archaeologists.

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