Electronic Theses and Dissertations

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

M.A. in Anthropology


Sociology and Anthropology

First Advisor

Carolyn Freiwald

Second Advisor

Jennifer Bengtson

Third Advisor

Robbie Ethridge

Relational Format



Oneota migration into the central Illinois River valley around ad 1300 resulted in a number of different interactions with Mississippian groups. Milner and colleagues (1991) identified significant numbers of perimortem injuries at the Norris farms 36 cemetery, along with biological markers for poor health, such as cribra orbitalia and porotic hyperostosis. They suggested that the threat of violence may have forced the Oneonta at Morton village to limit subsistence activities to circumscribed areas close to the settlement, thereby reducing the resource base and negatively impacting the health of the community. However, recent research (Bengtson et al. 2012; Bengtson and O'Gorman 2014; O'Gorman et al. 2012; Tubbs 2013) indicates that groups using Mississippian-style material culture may also have resided in Morton village and even used the same cemetery, suggesting that interactions among groups in the region included cooperation as well as competition. This thesis identified differences in long bone length among juveniles interred with Oneonta and Mississippian grave goods in the Norris farms 36 cemetery. Correlation, linear regression analysis, and a statistical t-test of measurements from the left femora and humeri of 135 of the 137 juveniles were compared to age estimates based on dental development and show that individuals interred with Mississippian-style or hybrid artifacts were larger than those buried with Oneonta grave goods. A third measurement from the left tibiae shono statistical difference. The differences observed with the humeri and femora could stem from a myriad of factors including, but not limited to, genetic, status, and/or dietary differences. The findings of this study, along with new archaeological research at Morton village, suggest that distinct groups may have used the cemetery and that interactions among groups in the region were more complex than the original interpretation suggests. Future studies may explore the question of what defined these groups - social, ethnic, or lineage differences - and shed light on the social change occurring during this period.



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