Socializing Novel Landscapes: Reconsidering "Colonization" through Indigenous Philosophies

Author(s): Matthew Sanger

Year: 2017


Archaeologists have long been interested in studying how landmasses became "colonized." Using biological analogies, archaeologists often describe colonization as a process by which ecological niches become filled by human populations that evolve to best fit into their new environs. This paper suggests an alternative informed by Indigenous philosophies that describe a world filled with animate and powerful beings emplaced throughout the landscape. Forging relations with these beings is a critical goal for many Native American communities and are typically formed through points of revelation at which communication across worlds is made possible. Informed by these worldviews, the occupation of a novel landscape would require the creation of social networks between newly arrived humans and the powers living there. To explore the applicability of Indigenous frameworks to archaeological research, this paper looks at how the American Southeastern coastline was occupied shortly after its formation during the Late Archaic period. This occupation is quite distinctive in that it largely consists of highly structured deposits of shell arranged in circles or open arcs that surround broad plazas. I posit that these constructions are means by which communication between human and non-human worlds were formed.

Cite this Record

Socializing Novel Landscapes: Reconsidering "Colonization" through Indigenous Philosophies. Matthew Sanger. Presented at The 81st Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Vancouver, British Columbia. 2017 ( tDAR id: 430245)


Spatial Coverage

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

Record Identifiers

Abstract Id(s): 13250