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LATE ARCHAIC RITUALISM IN DOMESTIC CONTEXTS: CLAY-FLOORED SHRINES AT THE BURRELL ORCHARD SITE, OHIO

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  12 September 2017


Brian G. Redmond
Affiliation:
Cleveland Museum of Natural History, Cleveland, OH 44106, USA (bredmond@cmnh.org)
Corresponding
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Abstract

Past research on the development of Archaic ideological complexity in eastern North America has focused on ritualism and ceremony related to mortuary behaviors, with less attention to ritualism within what is commonly thought of as domestic contexts without overt mortuary ceremonialism or monumental architecture. The recent discovery of puddled clay architecture and associated features at the Burrell Orchard site (33LN15) in northeast Ohio provides new evidence of significant, nonmortuary ritualism within Late Archaic basecamp contexts. That such activity took place alongside normal seasonal subsistence tasks is revealed by thick midden deposits containing abundant burned rock, nutshell, and deer bone. The many bone and stone tool deposits associated with the floors, along with the labor-intensive nature of the clay construction for what appears to have been individually short-term use, support the interpretation of these features as shrines possibly associated with hunting ritualism.


Estudios anteriores sobre el desarrollo de la complejidad ideológica del periodo Arcaico en el este de Norteamérica se han centrado principalmente en el ritualismo y el ceremonialismo relacionados con las prácticas mortuorias. Se ha prestado menos atención al ritualismo dentro de los que comúnmente se consideran contextos domésticos, en los que están ausentes el ceremonialismo explícitamente mortuorio o la arquitectura monumental. El reciente descubrimiento de arquitectura con pisos de arcilla humedecida y rasgos asociados en el sitio de Burrell Orchard (33LN15), en el noreste de Ohio, proporciona nuevas evidencias del desarrollo de un grado significativo de ritualismo no mortuorio en el contexto de campamentos base del Arcaico tardío. El hecho que tales actividades se llevaran a cabo junto con las tareas normales de subsistencia estacional es demostrado por la presencia de espesos depósitos de basura que contienen abundante roca quemada, cáscara de nuez y huesos de ciervo. Los diversos depósitos de huesos y herramientas de piedra asociados con los pisos, junto con los significativos requerimientos de mano de obra para la construcción de los pisos arcilla para lo que parece haber sido uso individual a corto plazo, apoyan la interpretación de estos rasgos como santuarios posiblemente asociados con rituales para propiciar la caza.


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Copyright © 2017 by the Society for American Archaeology 

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