History Lecture – “What Does Archaeology Tell Us About the Lenape?” by Dr. Jay Custer

What:  History Lecture – “What Does Archaeology Tell Us About the Lenape?” by Dr. Jay Custer, Dept. of Anthropology, U of DE

Where: Historical Society of Cecil County, 135 E. Main Street., Elkton, MD.
Date: Wednesday, March 9, 2016 at 6:30 p.m.
Sponsored by: Archeological Society of the Northern Chesapeake

“Recent archaeological studies of Woodland Period Native American sites in the central Middle Atlantic excavated very large areas of up to 30 acres. More than 2000 pit features were excavated. Detailed floatation studies of plant food remains produced data sets at a scale not previously available.

New data contradicting previous reconstructions of pre-Contact Lenape culture include: 1) community patterns indicative of small residential groups of fewer than 3-4 families, not villages; 2) absence of agricultural plant remains even though remains of wild plant foods were present; 3) a relatively continuous distribution of residential sites with no empty “buffer zones”; 4) very complicated and often ambiguous relationships among material culture markers of varied Algonkian-speaking social groupings, suggesting a series of sophisticated web-like peaceful social interaction networks that also included the Iroquoian Susquehannocks. Traditional reconstructions of Lenape culture at odds with new data may best be viewed as persisting triumphalist colonialist ideologies.”


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