Oneota Expansion and Ethnogenesis on the Eastern Great Plains

Author(s): Douglas Bamforth; Kristen Carlson

Year: 2018


The late 1200s and 1300s saw substantial population shifts in the eastern Plains and Midwest. These occurred in the context of profound sociopolitical and demographic changes, particularly the political decline and depopulation of Cahokia, and regional climatic variation, including significant changes in northern hemisphere temperatures and severe regional droughts. Oneota groups expanded into the east-central Great Plains during this time, at the same time that indigenous Plains farmers abandoned the western parts of their ranges and moved east. Interactions between these groups remain poorly understood and likely varied in time and space. However, a series of sites in northeastern Nebraska show blended patterns of ceramic design suggesting that they may have lived side by side in at least some areas, interacting face-to-face and forming new communities with distinct identities. The assemblage from the Lynch Site (25BD1) includes classic Oneota shell-tempered pottery that is likely imported, classic Oneota and Central Plains Tradition pots made locally, and pots that blend elements of Oneota and CPT styles. We present data on inter-household variation in pottery derived from excavations at Lynch in 1936 and 1959 and consider some of the implications of these data for community formation.

Cite this Record

Oneota Expansion and Ethnogenesis on the Eastern Great Plains. Douglas Bamforth, Kristen Carlson. Presented at The 82nd Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Washington, DC. 2018 ( tDAR id: 443444)

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Record Identifiers

Abstract Id(s): 22210