The 82nd Annual Meeting of the American Association of Physical Anthropologists (2013)

Examination of Archaic Period Craniometric Variation in the Middle Tennessee River Valley


Anthropology and Middle Eastern Cultures, Mississippi State University

Thursday Afternoon, 301E Add to calendar

Examination of the biological variation of Early Holocene populations in the Eastern Woodlands is a critical area of study especially in reference to understanding the transition from Paleoamerican to Archaic populations across the western hemisphere. A dearth of well-preserved Paleoamerican burials in the Eastern Woodlands has made interpretations of the relationship to western northern hemisphere Paleoamerican samples difficult. The Archaic Period samples in the Eastern Woodlands, as compared to the Paleoamerican specimens, are geographically well distributed with extensive collections in Alabama, Florida, Kentucky, and Tennessee and temporally well represented throughout the early to middle Holocene.

In this study three-dimensional coordinate craniometric data from various Archaic Period samples from the mid-continent and Florida is examined in reference to new data from Dust Cave (1LU496) and Russell Cave (1JA940). These two Archaic Period sites represent key locations in the Middle Tennessee River Valley which has a well-documented Paleoindian artifact history and extensive Archaic Period occupation. These sites have provided significant archaeological data. Material from Russell Cave helped define the Archaic Period in general and with Dust Cave aiding in our understanding of the Paleoindian to Archaic transition. Interlandmark and three-dimensional coordinate data will be examined within a quantitative genetics and landmark-based geometric morphometric framework in an attempt to understand the variation observed in these new samples relative to the larger region. The present analysis will be compared to other regional studies of Archaic Period samples based on dental morphology and other anthropometric methods.

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