Viewsheds and Variability: the Red Ochre Burial Complex Revisited Geographically

Author(s): Robert Ahlrichs

Year: 2015


The Red Ochre Burial Complex, like it’s later and more intensively studied Adena and Hopewell counterparts faces questions about its usefulness in understanding the cultural prehistory of the Western Great Lakes region. Over 50 years ago the complex was defined using a "trait list" approach. These traits are, for better or worse, still the clearest depiction of what is and is not a Red Ochre mortuary site. This study utilizes GIS to bring together disparate cultural data on a variety of Red Ochre sites in Wisconsin. This will facilitate examination of the "nuclear" Red Ochre traits including: hilltop site preference, presence of burials with caches of bifaces made from exotic raw material and several other more "peripheral" traits. It will also elucidate any spatial patterning evident in these mortuary behaviors. The Red Ochre Burial Complex represents an important transitional period in Eastern North American prehistory. It lies between the earlier, more egalitarian hunters and gatherers of the Archaic period, and the later more culturally stratified foragers and horticulturalists of the Woodland period. This poster seeks to gather, organize, and present some of the significant material remains from that transitional period in Wisconsin prehistory.

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Cite this Record

Viewsheds and Variability: the Red Ochre Burial Complex Revisited Geographically. Robert Ahlrichs. Presented at The 80th Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, San Francisco, California. 2015 ( tDAR id: 397927)

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Geographic Keywords
North America - Midwest

Spatial Coverage

min long: -104.634; min lat: 36.739 ; max long: -80.64; max lat: 49.153 ;