Post-marital Residence Patterns in the Late Archaic Coastal Southeast USA: Similarities in Stone Tools Revealed by Geometric Morphometrics

Abstract

Analyses of hafted biface shape using geometric morphometrics reveals similarities between assemblages recovered from two contemporaneous settlements located in coastal Georgia (USA), both dating to ca. 4200–3900 cal. B.P. This finding contradicts prior studies that demonstrated notable differences in pottery manufacture techniques used at each site. This pattern of similarity in one technology and differences in another suggests that residents of these settlements engaged in post-marital residence practices that resulted in potters remaining in their natal homes while stone tool makers were the post-marital mobile gender. Based on historic records, as well as limited archaeological studies, we posit that women were the primary producers of pottery and that matrilocality was a dominant practice in the region. This conclusion is strengthened by studies along nearby river valleys where similar patterns were observed. We posit that matrilocality was a means by which newly sedentary groups formed alliances, exchange relations, and social networks among and between one another even as mobility between regions decreased.

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Acknowledgments

Field and lab work was supported by the Edward John Noble Foundation and the St. Catherines Island Foundation. Curation; analysis and data processing took place at the American Museum of Natural History (AMNH) under the supervision of David Hurst Thomas, Lorann Pendleton, Anna Semon, Matthew Napolitano, and Ginessa Mahar. Interns and volunteers at AMNH sorted through and identified archaeological objects and have our thanks. Reviews by Kenneth Sassaman and an anonymous reader also greatly increased the quality of our paper, for which we are grateful.

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Correspondence to Matthew C. Sanger.

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Sanger, M.C., Bourcy, S., Ogden, Q.M. et al. Post-marital Residence Patterns in the Late Archaic Coastal Southeast USA: Similarities in Stone Tools Revealed by Geometric Morphometrics. J Archaeol Method Theory 27, 327–359 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10816-019-09435-9

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Keywords

  • Kinship
  • Social networks
  • Matrilocal
  • Southeast USA
  • Shell rings