Negotiating Migration and Violence in the Pre-Columbian Mid-Continent

Part of: Society for American Archaeology 80th Annual Meeting, San Francisco, CA (2015)

A remarkable level of indigenous violence consisting of prolonged, intermittent, small-scale warfare documented at the Norris Farms 36 cemetery in Fulton County, Illinois impacts perspectives on relative levels of violence in the Mid-continent of North America. Understanding the larger social context for violence in the Norris Farms Oneota skeletal population and the attributed social stress has been the over-arching goal guiding research and excavation at the associated Morton Village for the past seven years. Building on prior research in the cemetery and village, current work positions the issue of social context within a migration framework. At A.D. 1300 there is clear evidence that a small group of Oneota migrated into the Central Illinois River Valley encountering a resident Middle Mississippian population. It is also clear that the migrants were engaged in a significant level of conflict. What is not clear is how migrant and resident populations negotiated their new, post-migration situation. New evidence points to co-habitation of the village site and ensuing cultural changes for both groups. Posters in this symposium present different lines of evidence addressing the negotiation of space and material culture to assess post-migration interaction thereby informing the particular social context for violence.

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  • Documents (8)

  • Coming Together: Evidence of Ritual and Public Space as a Mechanism of Social Integration (2015)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Frank Raslich. Jodie O'Gorman. Michael Conner.

    Structure 16 at the Morton Village site (11F2) provides a unique opportunity to examine social interactions between Oneota and Mississippian populations situated within the Central Illinois River Valley. Prior to our work, the nature of these interactions at this site was poorly understood. Burgeoning data supports our interpretation of a cohabitation at Morton Village between these populations following Oneota in-migration. A method of this integration is demonstrated through ritualistic...

  • Introduction to the DMM-MSU Morton Village Project (2015)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Michael Conner. Jodie O'Gorman. Nicole Silva.

    Morton Village and Norris Farms #36 cemetery, located in the central Illinois River valley in Fulton County, Illinois, offer a rare opportunity to investigate migration and conflict with multiple data sets. The cemetery was excavated in the 1980s for highway improvements. Archaeologists from the Dickson Mounds Museum branch of the Illinois State Museum recovered 264 apparent Oneota burials dating to ca. A.D. 1300, and the cemetery is well known for the high level of violence evidenced. The...

  • Migration and Cohabitation at Morton Village: Future Research Directions (2015)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Jennifer Bengtson. Jeffrey Painter. Frank Raslich. Nikki Silva. Andrew Upton.

    New evidence for Oneota/Mississippian cohabitation at Morton Village leads us to develop novel questions and models for understanding the nature of social interaction at the site, while also recontextualizing previous analyses and interpretations within a revised framework of migration, cooperation, and ethnogenesis. In addition to carrying out additional excavations to further test hypotheses about the nature of co-habitation and social stress at the site by examining site structure, foodways,...

  • Negotiating Identity through Food Choice in the Pre-Columbian Mid-Continent (2015)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Ryan Maureen Tubbs. Jodie A. O'Gorman. Jeffrey M. Painter. Terrance J. Martin.

    Recent research has deepened our understanding of intergroup interactions in the Mid-continent of North America during the late prehistoric period, and archaeological investigations have revealed evidence not only for conflict, but also for cohabitation and cooperation between the migrant Oneota people and local, maize-reliant Middle Mississippian groups. This poster utilizes the broadly defined framework of foodways and explores dietary changes in this interaction through time along with...

  • Negotiating Migration and Violence in the Pre-Columbian Mid-Continent: A View from the Village (2015)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Jodie OGorman. Michael Conner. Nicole Silva.

    Multiple lines of evidence from Morton Village presented in the poster symposium are brought together to consider the social context of marked violence evidenced at Norris Farms 36 cemetery. This current work sheds light on the complexity and context of social interactions whereby migrant and resident populations negotiated a level of cooperation and support by creating new mechanisms for social integration in the village. SAA 2015 abstracts made available in tDAR courtesy of the Society for...

  • The Role of Public Space in Identity Making at Morton Village (11F2) (2015)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Andrew Upton. Jodie O'Gorman. Michael Conner. Terrance Martin.

    The circa 1300 AD Morton Village site in west-central Illinois lies at the intersection of Mississippian and Oneota worlds. High levels of violence and social stress witnessed in the site’s nearby Norris Farms #36 cemetery suggests that regional social interaction was marred by internecine conflict and raiding. The multi-ethnic nature of cohabitation at the site, on the other hand, suggests that ritual and cultural convention were creatively modified to reflect a new multi-cultural reality. This...

  • The Spatial Distribution of Domestic Facilities in the Multiethnic Morton Village Site (2015)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Jessica Yann. Jeff Painter. Michael Conner.

    With mounting evidence demonstrating cohabitation between Mississippian and Oneota groups at the Morton Village site, data regarding domestic facilities are crucial for examining how these two distinct groups interacted and influenced one another in their daily lives. The distribution of house types (wall trench versus single post) provides interesting evidence for some degree of segregation between the two, while data from features suggests a more complex and intermingled relationship. This...

  • Understanding settlement organization through geophysical survey at the Morton Village Site, IL (2015)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Timothy Horsley. Michael Conner. Jodie O'Gorman.

    Geophysical surveys at the Morton Village site are revealing the nature and distribution of occupation across this landscape and helping to guide the excavation program. Magnetometer surveys undertaken between 2010 and 2014 of 7.3 ha have identified numerous structures and pits. Results indicate a densely occupied village covering about 3.5 ha with more dispersed facilities outside this core. No evidence of a stockade has been found. By targeting specific magnetic anomalies, excavation is...