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ANTH 3650 Lecture Notes - Interior Plateau, Old Copper Complex, Lake Superior

Course Code
ANTH 3650
Edward Hedican

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Jennings Chapter 4: The Archaic Stage
Previous era ‘stage’ determined by characteristics;
-focus on large game-subsistence patterns
-little (or simply lack of evidence) material cultural property (poverty in this case)
-no evidence of plant products
-simple technology - tools and utensils
-uncomplicated sociopolitical organization
-cultural skills and institutions limited to those required for survival (in pursuit of game)
Archaic Period
-ranging from 8000BP until AD 1850s in some places
-described as foraging pattern of existence
-coincided with Folsom and Plano phases
-defined interpretively (artifact varies, a single definition on basis of an artifact cannot
be universally applied)
-specific specialized tools and utensils for varied (new) subsistence base
-technologically more versatile and complex (then previous stages)
-subsistence varied season to season, and tool inventory expanded
-ground stone woodworking tools : for forest environment (ax, wedge, gouge)
-milling equipment : (mortars, pestles etc)
-stone vessels : represent greater permanence of occupancy
-ground slate points and knives : polished, also shows permanency
-choppers and scrapers continue BUT drill first found in Archaic
-greater variety of points
-bone, horn and ivory made into awls, perforators and needles : indicates basket mak-
ing and skinworking
-evidence of marine prey : spears, gorges, hooks, harpoons,
-shells : evidence of adornment and ornament
-copper and asphaltum new to Archaic period
-formalized burials (round graves, partial cremation, inclusion of grave goods) : indicate
temporal continuity
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Archaic Research
-little evidence of houses and storage sites
-trouble understanding Archaic as continent wide culture
-definition tough in organizational terms without a commoner artifact
-became accepted through term use (credited to Richie 1932) by ’58 fully accepted
-key: Archaic as a lifeway, not geared to any one ecosystem
Forest Efficiency
-Interest in Archaic began in Eastern area
-Caldwell 1958 Primary Forest Efficiency - thesis
-point: more species variation (hunting as well as harvesting, seasonal progress) the
beginnings of diversity specialization of tools. Technological skills increase as well.
-East: uniform growth
-Seasonal successes: thus without surplus settlements and permanent dwelling sites
-primary forest efficiency may imply movement of groups to a schedule, but certainly
not aimless, or nomadic.
Caldwells Thesis
-Archaic cultures became more and more complex and show increasing inventory of
tools through time
-populations increase - communications ease - greatest potential for cultural innovation
-closing of Archaic = conquest for space completed
-further efficiency in exploitation: implies new techniques of food preparation, broad-
ened range of raw materials - leads to natural innovations
-utilization of plant fibers = development of textile arts, = results: mats, baskets, bags
-invention of basket = expedited gathering, transport and storage
-fibers to make nets, to catch fish, rodents and fowl.
-vegetable fiber makes cordage - used in traps, fishlines, snares,
-greater devices = prepared for greater numbers with less effort
-*Archaic: a series of inventions and innovations (utilizing raw materials not yet evident
to earlier cultures)
-technological advance = leads to special tools (rather than all purpose) increasing
skills, lead to refinements, better efficient food collecting and other specialized tools
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