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The Historical Turn in Southeastern Archaeology$
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Robbie Ethridge and Eric E. Bowne

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9781683401629

Published to Florida Scholarship Online: May 2021

DOI: 10.5744/florida/9781683401629.001.0001

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From Small Histories to Big History on the Woodland Period Gulf Coast

From Small Histories to Big History on the Woodland Period Gulf Coast

(p.43) 2 From Small Histories to Big History on the Woodland Period Gulf Coast
The Historical Turn in Southeastern Archaeology

Thomas J. Pluckhahn

Neill J. Wallis

Victor D. Thompson

University Press of Florida

The “historical turn” in the archaeology of the Woodland period Gulf Coast of the Southeastern United States began several decades ago, as archaeologists began to move beyond relatively static regional cultural histories to develop detailed chronologies of several of the region’s most prominent sites, demonstrating in fine detail the manner in which communities were dynamically transformed over short intervals. However, these local chronologies have remained largely disconnected from each other—more akin to biography than history. We draw these accumulated biographies together to illustrate how they are beginning to reveal a series of concordant changes across the region, including a sudden restructuring of communities in the sixth and seventh centuries. Although some details remain unclear, we are beginning to understand this “Weeden Islandization” as “big history” that involved the migration of people, materials, ideas, and practices across large areas.

Keywords:   Woodland period, Gulf Coast, migration, Weeden Islandization

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