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Dealing in Metaphors: Exploring the Materiality of Trade on the Seventeenth-Century Eastern Siouan Frontier

Author(s): Madeleine Gunter

Year: 2014

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Summary

Seventeenth-century native communities along the modern-day Virginia/North Carolina border occupied a pivotal place on the Southeastern U.S. geopolitical landscape. On the periphery of Occaneechi-controlled fur trading networks, Siouan groups like the Sara maintained ties with the eastern Occaneechi through a complex web of social connections and trade networks. Despite their prominent place on the landscape, these groups are poorly understood ethnographically and largely ignored in historical accounts. This paper combines archaeological and historical evidence to give voice to their dynamic past. Addressing the first decades of contact between the Sara and English colonists, I use data from six previously excavated sites in interior Virginia and North Carolina to understand how their different “ways of knowing” the world, and their respective attempts to make sense of one another, influenced the types of objects they valued and exchanged. This paper complicates the history of the region by bringing attention to the social and economic ties between Virginia Indian and English communities, and more broadly, defines the role of frontier communities in contact-period social networks.


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Dealing in Metaphors: Exploring the Materiality of Trade on the Seventeenth-Century Eastern Siouan Frontier. Madeleine Gunter. Presented at Society for Historical Archaeology, Quebec City, Quebec, Canada. 2014 ( tDAR id: 436810)


Record Identifiers

PaperId(s): SYM-27,08

Arizona State University The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation National Science Foundation National Endowment for the Humanities Society for American Archaeology Archaeological Institute of America