American University
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Small -sites archaeology at Runnoe Park: Temporary camps recurring along the western shore of Green Bay during the Late Woodland stage

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posted on 2023-09-06, 03:09 authored by Nathan Surgisson Lowrey

Interpretations of the Late Woodland stage along the western shore of Green Bay are primarily drawn from analogies to eastern groups living on the Door Peninsula or western groups living in Highland Lakes District. Without data from intact components at local sites, our ability to establish culture chronologies, determine settlement and subsistence practices, and evaluate relationships between the prehistoric and historic inhabitants of the region remains constrained. Recent investigations at the Runnoe Park locality of the Chautauqua Grounds Site (47MT71) in Marinette, Wisconsin offer a partial solution. During three summer field schools offered by the University of Wisconsin Colleges (1994, 1999, 2001), students excavated an intact Late Woodland component atop an ancient beach terrace overlooking Green Bay. Recovered remains were subjected to a broad based-analysis designed to elicit an event-oriented history from the site, reveal the life-ways of its inhabitants, and facilitate comparisons with archaeologically and ethnographically known peoples. The analysis differentiated eight small artifact clusters interpreted as temporary residential camps, transient field camps, and a hide processing-butchery station. These short-term occupations, occurring sporadically between AD 780 and 1460, extend the documented presence of Late Woodland peoples in the area by approximately 400 years. Pottery from the residential bases was dominated by a rarely reported and poorly defined combed variety, which we have tentatively labeled Runnoe ware. Preliminary comparison with other sites in the region suggests that Runnoe ware may reflect an archaeological manifestation geographically situated between Green Bay to the east and the Highland Lakes District to the west. The camp types identified at Runnoe Park may reflect alternating occupations by contemporaneous Late Woodland peoples, perhaps in competition for seasonally abundant resources along Green Bay. In this case, residential camps might represent interior-based local groups who maintained traditional lifeways along the coast during warm weather, while field camps could represent the satellites of larger regional fishing villages near the mouths of major tributaries. This could help to explain the wide range of Late Woodland and Oneota pottery found along the lower Menominee River, as opposed to less diverse ceramic assemblages seen along the upper portion of the drainage.







Thesis (Ph.D.)--American University, 2004.


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