Reconceptualizing the Wichita Middle Ground in the Southern Plains (1600-1840 CE)

Author(s): Sarah Trabert; Brandi Bethke

Year: 2020


This is a paper/report submission presented at the 2020 annual meeting of the Society for Historical Archaeology.

The Southern Plains exchange system after 1600 CE was a complicated and fiercely competitive network of fluid alliances, rival interests, and conflict as Indigenous peoples were literally in the middle of overlapping cultural, economic, and physical power bases in the Southeast and Southwest. Although previous narratives surrounding these exchanges have focused on the trade in furs and hides, we argue that multiple objects are entangled in these networks and discussions should center instead on social relationships rather than trade goods themselves. A review of ethnohistoric and archaeological data from ancestral Wichita settlements highlights the ever-evolving power and influence that they had over exchange networks and social relationships in the region. Through a more detailed discussion of the significant role that the Wichita, living in the middle ground of the Southern Plains, played, this paper will highlight Indigenous persistence and social flexibility in post-contact exchange systems.

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Reconceptualizing the Wichita Middle Ground in the Southern Plains (1600-1840 CE). Sarah Trabert, Brandi Bethke. 2020 ( tDAR id: 457355)

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Temporal Keywords

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): 543