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  • Survey of Native American Archaeological Sites in Massachusetts 12000-300 BP
  • Chilton, Elizabeth
  • Doucette, Dianna
  • 2015
  • The interpretation that pre-contact Native American land-use played an increasing role in landscape dynamics through the Holocene is prevalent in historical, scientific and popular literature. This exerts a strong influence on modern conservation practices especially the use of prescribed fire (Cronon 1984, Abrams 2002, Pyne 1984, Mann 2002) and yet there has never been a robust analysis of relevant archaeological and paleoecological data on the subject. This data is used in the archaeological component of a larger National Science Foundation (NSF)-funded research project intended to analyze the triggers and drivers of ecosystem dynamics. More specifically, the research aims to determine the role of human activity (fire, land clearance, horticulture) in shaping vegetation dynamics. Some of the alternative hypotheses examined in the archaeological analysis include: (1) do we see progressively intensive cultural development and increasingly intensive land use throughout the pre-Contact period?; (2) do we see cultural continuity with fairly passive responses to environmental change and minimal ecological impact of people?; or (3) is cultural adaptation environmental and/or cultural specific, with clear influence of human agency? Our collaborative ecological and social research (Duranleau 2009, Foster and Aber 2004, Chilton et al. 2010) position us to undertake such a regional synthesis as one critical element of the proposed study on ecological dynamics and regime shifts. This synthesis will allow us to consider basic ecological questions concerning interactions among climate, disturbance and human activity in ecosystem dynamics; provide a landscape and regional test of a hypothesis put forth by Munoz et al. (2010) concerning the link between environmental change and cultural development in northeastern North America; and position our archaeological community to apply new ecological perspectives to their research. The archaeological component is derived from intensive state-wide site file research of recorded pre-contact sites across Massachusetts.
  • N: 42.9      S: 41.3      E: -69.9      W: -73.5
  • This dataset is released to the public and may be freely downloaded. Please keep the designated Contact person informed of any plans to use the dataset. Consultation or collaboration with the original investigators is strongly encouraged. Publications and data products that make use of the dataset must include proper acknowledgement. For more information on LTER Network data access and use policies, please see:
  • doi:10.6073/pasta/65a428b9f270e1f145936a9a53b06dd2
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