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The Archaeology of Villages in Eastern North America$
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Jennifer Birch and Victor D. Thompson

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9781683400462

Published to Florida Scholarship Online: May 2019

DOI: 10.5744/florida/9781683400462.001.0001

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From Nucleated Villages to Dispersed Networks

From Nucleated Villages to Dispersed Networks

Transformations in Seneca Haudenosaunee (Iroquois) Community Structure, circa AD 1669–1779

Chapter:
(p.174) 11 From Nucleated Villages to Dispersed Networks
Source:
The Archaeology of Villages in Eastern North America
Author(s):

Kurt A. Jordan

Publisher:
University Press of Florida
DOI:10.5744/florida/9781683400462.003.0011

Members of the Seneca Nation of the Haudenosaunee (Iroquois) Confederacy resided in a surprising variety of settlement forms during the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. Seneca communities in what is now western New York State lived in sequentially occupied sites that ranged from nucleated to fully dispersed, with and without defensive palisades. The regional Seneca settlement pattern also changed from one with two large core sites and surrounding satellites to a network of evenly spaced smaller sites arrayed across their territory. While earlier scholars viewed these transformations as decline away from a precontact cultural climax, the changes were non-linear and corresponded quite tightly to the dynamics of the regional political economy known in detail from documentary sources. This chapter reviews the details of 1669-1779 changes in Seneca community forms, and examines the lived experience of community relocation as a dynamic time for negotiation, reimagination, assessment of political-economic conditions, and the exercise of power.

Keywords:   Seneca, Haudenosaunee (Iroquois), settlement pattern, political economy, community relocation, documentary sources, New York State

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