Tracing Communities and Mapping Exchange Networks of the Great Lakes in the 17th Century

Author(s): Heather Walder; Alicia Hawkins

Year: 2018


Identifying historically documented ethnic groups in the archaeological record benefits from pragmatic approaches to material culture studies and regional-scale analyses of interaction. Ongoing investigations of the dispersal and migration of Huron-Wendat and other Indigenous peoples of eastern North America as an outcome of colonialism in 17th century are applying archaeometric analysis methods to glass trade beads to trace population movements and exchange networks. Chemical elements calcium, tin, and zinc present in European-made glass beads from this period form diagnostic glass recipe subgroups identifiable using LA-ICP-MS (laser ablation - inductively coupled plasma - mass spectrometry). Distinctive compositions of glass trade beads from Western Great Lakes sites were identified in archaeological assemblages from Wendat sites in southern Ontario, supporting an interpretation of the western sites as connected to the historically documented mid-17th century Wendat/Wyandot dispersal, providing an evidence-based example of "seeing ethnicity" in the archaeological record.

Cite this Record

Tracing Communities and Mapping Exchange Networks of the Great Lakes in the 17th Century. Heather Walder, Alicia Hawkins. Presented at Society for Historical Archaeology, New Orleans, Louisiana. 2018 ( tDAR id: 441807)


Spatial Coverage

min long: -129.199; min lat: 24.495 ; max long: -66.973; max lat: 49.359 ;

Individual & Institutional Roles

Contact(s): Society for Historical Archaeology

Record Identifiers

PaperId(s): 415