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Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Flexible sedentism: The subsistence and settlement strategies of the pre -contact residents of coastal New England and New York
by Duranleau, Deena Lynne, Ph.D., Harvard University, 2009, 212; 3385550
Abstract (Summary)

I utilize an often-overlooked resource in my development of a regional database of archaeological sites. The so-called “gray literature” produced by CRM firms working in southern coastal New England and New York offers a wealth of site-based data. When thousands of these sites are brought together and compared synchronically and diachronically, we can begin to make assertions about the habitation patterns of the precontact residents of coastal southern New England and New York. By focusing on Late Archaic and Late Woodland Period short-term, seasonal, and flexible sedentary sites, I offer a broad-based, multi-level analysis of subsistence and settlement patterns both across the region and through time.

An important finding is the overall homogeneity across the region and through time in the archaeological evidence left behind by the native inhabitants of this coastal zone. This finding comes from a detailed analysis of the types of activities occurring at each site, as represented in the archaeological record, which reveals similar types of activities occurring at sites across the coastal region, and as a result of comparisons of the amount of site re-use through time. These findings support Bernstein's (2006) hypothesis that the archaeological record for southern coastal New England and New York is characterized by long-term continuity.

The homogeneity in habitation pattern across the region and between the Late Archaic and Late Woodland periods is evidence that this pattern of repeated reoccupation of sites for generations was a successful coastal precontact strategy. One result of this stable habitation pattern is that at certain sites or groups of sites, native inhabitants remained year-round. I call this strategy flexible sedentism.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Fash, William
School: Harvard University
School Location: United States -- Massachusetts
Source: DAI-A 70/11, Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Archaeology
Keywords: Flexible sedentism, Late Archaic, Late Woodland, New England, New York, Settlement, Subsistence
Publication Number: 3385550
ISBN: 978-1-109-49462-4
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