Societies in Eclipse: Archaeology of the Eastern Woodlands Indians, A.D. 1400-1700
Within a generation of initial Native-European contact along North America's shores, European trade and diseases had dramatically altered the lives ... Show synopsis Within a generation of initial Native-European contact along North America's shores, European trade and diseases had dramatically altered the lives of inland indigenous tribes. In Societies in Eclipse, archaeologists combine their current discoveries with insights from anthropology, history, and Native oral traditions to examine the cultural transformations among the Eastern Woodlands tribes immediately preceding and following the arrival of Europeans. After establishing the distribution of prehistoric and historic populations from the north-eastern Appalachian forests to the southern trans-Mississippian prairies, the contributors consider specific groups, including Mohawk and Onondaga, Monacan, Coosa, and Calusa. For each, they present new evidence of cultural changes prior to European contact, including population movements triggered by the Little Ice Age (A.D. 1550-1700), shifting exchange and warfare networks, geological restriction of effective maize subsistence, and use of empty hunting territories as buffers between politically unstable neighbors. The contributors also trace European influences, including the devastation caused by European-introduced epidemics and the paths of European trade goods that transformed existing Native exchange networks. While the profound effects of European explorers, missionaries, and traders on Eastern Woodlands tribes cannot be denied, the archaeological evidence suggests that several indigenous societies were already in the process of redefinition prior to European contact.