Protohistoric Social Dynamics in the Central Arkansas River Valley

Author(s): Rebecca Wiewel

Year: 2015


The Protohistoric period in the southeastern United States is known for being a time of social upheaval and transformation. Groups living in the Central Arkansas River Valley during the early seventeenth century had to contend with the aftermath of the De Soto entrada, severe drought conditions associated with the Little Ice Age, and perhaps widespread population movement accompanying the dissolution of chiefdoms in the Mississippi Valley. Societal coalescence is one strategy that many later Southeasterners adopted during times of social stress. This paper considers the possibility that the protohistoric Carden Bottoms community in Yell County, Arkansas is an early example of coalescence. I draw evidence from recent excavations of complete households at site 3YE25 and a newly completed compositional analysis of ceramics from the Carden Bottoms locality and comparative collections from surrounding regions in Arkansas. Given the similarities in artifact assemblages among nearby Carden Bottoms phase and Menard Complex sites, these findings may have widespread implications for Protohistoric studies across the region.

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Cite this Record

Protohistoric Social Dynamics in the Central Arkansas River Valley. Rebecca Wiewel. Presented at The 80th Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, San Francisco, California. 2015 ( tDAR id: 397910)

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Spatial Coverage

min long: -91.274; min lat: 24.847 ; max long: -72.642; max lat: 36.386 ;