From Colonization to Domestication: A Historical Ecological Analysis of Paleoindian and Archaic Subsistence and Landscape Use in Central Tennessee

Persistent Link:
http://hdl.handle.net/10150/320030
Title:
From Colonization to Domestication: A Historical Ecological Analysis of Paleoindian and Archaic Subsistence and Landscape Use in Central Tennessee
Author:
Miller, Darcy Shane
Issue Date:
2014
Publisher:
The University of Arizona.
Rights:
Copyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
Abstract:
My dissertation project utilizes a theoretical perspective derived from historical ecology to explore the trajectory in prehistoric subsistence that began with the initial colonization of the region and eventually led to the domestication of indigenous plants, such as goosefoot and maygrass, roughly 5,000 calendar years ago. Because a major handicap for exploring prehistoric subsistence in eastern North America is the rarity of sites with preserved flora and fauna, I apply formal models derived from behavioral ecology to stone tool assemblages and archaeological site distributions to evaluate models that have been proposed for the emergence of domesticated plants. Based on my results, I argue that the origins of plant domestication came about within the context of a boom/bust cycle that has its roots in the Late Pleistocene and culminated in the Mid-Holocene. More specifically, warming climate caused a significant peak in the availability of shellfish, oak, hickory, and deer, which generated a "tipping point" during the Middle Archaic period where hunter-gatherer groups narrowed their focus on these resources. After this "boom" ended, some groups shifted to other plant resources that they could intensively exploit in the same manner as oak and hickory, which included the suite of plants that were subsequently domesticated. This is likely due the combined effects of increasing population and declining returns from hunting, which is evident in my analysis of biface technological organization and site distributions from the lower Tennessee and Duck River Valleys. Consequently, these conclusions are an alternative to Smith's (2011) assertion that plant domestication in eastern North America came about as a result of gradual niche construction with no evidence for resource imbalance or population packing.
Type:
text; Electronic Dissertation
Keywords:
Hunter-gatherers; Lithic Analysis; Origins of Agriculture; Paleoindian; Southeastern United States; Anthropology; Archaic
Degree Name:
Ph.D.
Degree Level:
doctoral
Degree Program:
Graduate College; Anthropology
Degree Grantor:
University of Arizona
Advisor:
Holliday, Vance T.; Kuhn, Steven L.
Committee Chair:
Holliday, Vance T.; Kuhn, Steven L.

Full metadata record

DC FieldValue Language
dc.language.isoen_USen
dc.titleFrom Colonization to Domestication: A Historical Ecological Analysis of Paleoindian and Archaic Subsistence and Landscape Use in Central Tennesseeen_US
dc.creatorMiller, Darcy Shaneen_US
dc.contributor.authorMiller, Darcy Shaneen_US
dc.date.issued2014-
dc.publisherThe University of Arizona.en_US
dc.rightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.en_US
dc.description.abstractMy dissertation project utilizes a theoretical perspective derived from historical ecology to explore the trajectory in prehistoric subsistence that began with the initial colonization of the region and eventually led to the domestication of indigenous plants, such as goosefoot and maygrass, roughly 5,000 calendar years ago. Because a major handicap for exploring prehistoric subsistence in eastern North America is the rarity of sites with preserved flora and fauna, I apply formal models derived from behavioral ecology to stone tool assemblages and archaeological site distributions to evaluate models that have been proposed for the emergence of domesticated plants. Based on my results, I argue that the origins of plant domestication came about within the context of a boom/bust cycle that has its roots in the Late Pleistocene and culminated in the Mid-Holocene. More specifically, warming climate caused a significant peak in the availability of shellfish, oak, hickory, and deer, which generated a "tipping point" during the Middle Archaic period where hunter-gatherer groups narrowed their focus on these resources. After this "boom" ended, some groups shifted to other plant resources that they could intensively exploit in the same manner as oak and hickory, which included the suite of plants that were subsequently domesticated. This is likely due the combined effects of increasing population and declining returns from hunting, which is evident in my analysis of biface technological organization and site distributions from the lower Tennessee and Duck River Valleys. Consequently, these conclusions are an alternative to Smith's (2011) assertion that plant domestication in eastern North America came about as a result of gradual niche construction with no evidence for resource imbalance or population packing.en_US
dc.typetexten
dc.typeElectronic Dissertationen
dc.subjectHunter-gatherersen_US
dc.subjectLithic Analysisen_US
dc.subjectOrigins of Agricultureen_US
dc.subjectPaleoindianen_US
dc.subjectSoutheastern United Statesen_US
dc.subjectAnthropologyen_US
dc.subjectArchaicen_US
thesis.degree.namePh.D.en_US
thesis.degree.leveldoctoralen_US
thesis.degree.disciplineGraduate Collegeen_US
thesis.degree.disciplineAnthropologyen_US
thesis.degree.grantorUniversity of Arizonaen_US
dc.contributor.advisorHolliday, Vance T.en_US
dc.contributor.advisorKuhn, Steven L.en_US
dc.contributor.chairHolliday, Vance T.en_US
dc.contributor.chairKuhn, Steven L.en_US
dc.contributor.committeememberHolliday, Vance T.en_US
dc.contributor.committeememberKuhn, Steven L.en_US
dc.contributor.committeememberStiner, Mary C.en_US
dc.contributor.committeememberAnderson, David G.en_US
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