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Harvard Forest Data Archive

HF238

Survey of Native American Archaeological Sites in Massachusetts 12000-300 BP

Related Publications

Data

Overview

  • Lead: Elizabeth Chilton, Dianna Doucette
  • Investigators: Deena Duranleau, David Foster, Katharine Kirakosian, Wyatt Oswald, Bryan Shuman, Evan Taylor
  • Contact: Elizabeth Chilton
  • Start date: -10000
  • End date: 1650
  • Status: completed
  • Location: Massachusetts
  • Latitude: +41.3 to +42.9
  • Longitude: -73.5 to -69.9
  • Elevation: 0 to 1065 meter
  • Taxa:
  • Release date: 2015
  • Revisions:
  • EML file: knb-lter-hfr.238.4
  • DOI: digital object identifier
  • Related links:
  • Study type: historical, paleological
  • Research topic: historical and retrospective studies; regional studies
  • LTER core area: disturbance
  • Keywords: history, humans, land use, human disturbance
  • Abstract:

    The interpretation that pre-contact Native American land-use played an increasing role in landscape dynamics through the Holocene is prevalent in historical, scientific and popular literature. This exerts a strong influence on modern conservation practices especially the use of prescribed fire (Cronon 1984, Abrams 2002, Pyne 1984, Mann 2002) and yet there has never been a robust analysis of relevant archaeological and paleoecological data on the subject. This data is used in the archaeological component of a larger National Science Foundation (NSF)-funded research project intended to analyze the triggers and drivers of ecosystem dynamics. More specifically, the research aims to determine the role of human activity (fire, land clearance, horticulture) in shaping vegetation dynamics. Some of the alternative hypotheses examined in the archaeological analysis include: (1) do we see progressively intensive cultural development and increasingly intensive land use throughout the pre-Contact period?; (2) do we see cultural continuity with fairly passive responses to environmental change and minimal ecological impact of people?; or (3) is cultural adaptation environmental and/or cultural specific, with clear influence of human agency?

    Our collaborative ecological and social research (Duranleau 2009, Foster and Aber 2004, Chilton et al. 2010) position us to undertake such a regional synthesis as one critical element of the proposed study on ecological dynamics and regime shifts. This synthesis will allow us to consider basic ecological questions concerning interactions among climate, disturbance and human activity in ecosystem dynamics; provide a landscape and regional test of a hypothesis put forth by Munoz et al. (2010) concerning the link between environmental change and cultural development in northeastern North America; and position our archaeological community to apply new ecological perspectives to their research.

    The archaeological component is derived from intensive state-wide site file research of recorded pre-contact sites across Massachusetts.

  • Methods:

    The data in this state-wide survey of archaeological sites in Massachusetts was compiled from Massachusetts Historical Commission site forms with further details obtained from academic articles, reports from the Massachusetts Archaeological Society bulletin, and reports from local cultural resource management (CRM) firms.

    Data from these sources was coded for presence or absence in order to identify general patterns of Native American settlement, subsistence, and other cultural activities from 12,000-300 B.P.

  • Use:

    This dataset is released to the public under Creative Commons license CC BY (Attribution). Please keep the designated contact person informed of any plans to use the dataset. Consultation or collaboration with the original investigators is strongly encouraged. Publications and data products that make use of the dataset must include proper acknowledgement.

  • Citation:

    Chilton E, Doucette D. 2015. Survey of Native American Archaeological Sites in Massachusetts 12000-300 BP. Harvard Forest Data Archive: HF238.

Detailed Metadata

hf238-01: archaeological sites

  1. town: town name
  2. project.name: project or site name
  3. mhc.number: Massachusetts Historical Commission inventory number
  4. precontact: Native American material culture (12,000 – 450 years Before Present [BP])
    • 1: confirmed presence
    • 0: confirmed absence
  5. historic: Euro-American material culture (post 450 B.P)
    • 1: confirmed presence
    • 0: confirmed absence
  6. short.term: artifacts indicating temporary use of a site, may have been used more than once
    • 1: confirmed presence
    • 0: confirmed absence
  7. seasonal: repeated occupation with features and evidence of broad range of activities
    • 1: confirmed presence
    • 0: confirmed absence
  8. sedentary: evidence of year-round habitation, hearths, storage pits, middens, large quantity and variety of artifact types
    • 1: confirmed presence
    • 0: confirmed absence
  9. paleoindian: material dated 12,000-10,000 B.P.
    • 1: confirmed presence
    • 0: confirmed absence
  10. early.archaic: material dated 10,000-8000 B.P.
    • 1: confirmed presence
    • 0: confirmed absence
  11. middle.archaic: material dated 8000-5000 B.P.
    • 1: confirmed presence
    • 0: confirmed absence
  12. late.archaic: material dated 5000-3000 B.P.
    • 1: confirmed presence
    • 0: confirmed absence
  13. transitional.archaic: material dated 3500-2700 B.P.
    • 1: confirmed presence
    • 0: confirmed absence
  14. early.woodland: material dated 3000-2000 B.P.
    • 1: confirmed presence
    • 0: confirmed absence
  15. middle.woodland: Material dated 2000-1000 B.P.
    • 1: confirmed presence
    • 0: confirmed absence
  16. late.woodland: material dated 1000-450 B.P.
    • 1: confirmed presence
    • 0: confirmed absence
  17. contact.period: material dated 450-300 B.P.
    • 1: confirmed presence
    • 0: confirmed absence
  18. unknown: undated material
    • 1: confirmed presence
    • 0: confirmed absence
  19. lithic.tool.repair: chipping debris
    • 1: confirmed presence
    • 0: confirmed absence
  20. lithic.workshop: chipping debris, hammerstones, cores
    • 1: confirmed presence
    • 0: confirmed absence
  21. hunting: faunal material and/or projectile points
    • 1: confirmed presence
    • 0: confirmed absence
  22. fishing: net weights, fish hooks, fish bone/scales
    • 1: confirmed presence
    • 0: confirmed absence
  23. shellfish.gathering: shell
    • 1: confirmed presence
    • 0: confirmed absence
  24. plant.gathering: charred seeds and/or nuts
    • 1: confirmed presence
    • 0: confirmed absence
  25. food.processing: bifaces, scrapers, knives, etc, fauna, shellfish, plant remains
    • 1: confirmed presence
    • 0: confirmed absence
  26. cooking: hearth, steatite, fire-cracked rock, charcoal, pottery, charred remains
    • 1: confirmed presence
    • 0: confirmed absence
  27. storage: pottery, pit feature, steatite
    • 1: confirmed presence
    • 0: confirmed absence
  28. disposal: midden, pit feature
    • 1: confirmed presence
    • 0: confirmed absence
  29. horticulture: hoes, maize, seeds
    • 1: confirmed presence
    • 0: confirmed absence
  30. burial: human remains
    • 1: confirmed presence
    • 0: confirmed absence
  31. ceremonial: exotic items, pendants, decorative artifacts
    • 1: confirmed presence
    • 0: confirmed absence
  32. c14.date: years before present (may include lab number)