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Regional Variation in the Pattern of Maize Adoption and Use in Florida and Georgia

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  20 January 2017

Dale L. Hutchinson
Affiliation:
Departments of Anthropology and Biology, and the Institute for Historical and Cultural Research, East Carolina University, Greenville, NC 27858
Clark Spencer Larsen
Affiliation:
Department of Anthropology and Research Laboratories of Archaeology, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, NC 27599-3120
Margaret J. Schoeninger
Affiliation:
Department of Anthropology, University of Wisconsin, Madison, WI 53706
Lynette Norr
Affiliation:
Department of Anthropology, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL 32611

Abstract

Dietary reconstruction using carbon and nitrogen stable isotopes from archaeological human bone samples from coastal Georgia and northern and Gulf Coast Florida dating between 400 B.C. and A.D. 1700 serves to illustrate the complexity of the agricultural transition in that region. Isotope analysis of 185 collagen samples drawn from early prehistoric, late prehistoric, and contact-period mortuary sites encompasses two major adaptive shifts in the region, namely the adoption of maize agriculture in late prehistory and the increased emphasis on maize during the mission period. Prior to European contact—and especially before the establishment of Spanish missions among the Guale, Yamasee, Timucua, and Apalachee tribal groups—diet was strongly influenced by local environmental factors. Before contact, coastal and inland populations had different patterns of food consumption, as did populations living in Georgia and Florida. Coastal populations consumed more marine and less terrestrial foods than inland populations. In general, maize was adopted during the eleventh century A.D. by virtually all Georgia populations. However, with the exception of the Lake Jackson site, a major Mississippian center in northern Florida, Florida populations show little use of maize before contact. Following European contact, maize became wide-spread, regardless of location or habitat within the broad region of Spanish Florida. Missionization appears to have been an important factor in the convergence of native diets toward agriculture and away from foraging. This increased emphasis on maize contributed to a decline in quality of life for native populations.

Résumé

Résumé

La reconstrucción dietética usando carbón e isótopos estables provenientes de muestras arqueológicas de huesos humanos de la costade Georgia, y elnortey Golfo de Florida datados entre 400 a.C. y 1700 d.C, sirvepara ilustrar la complejidadde la transición agricultural en esa región. Análisis isotópicos de 185 muestras de colágeno extraidos de sitios mortuarios correspondientes a los períodos prehistoricos tempranos, prehistóricos tardíos, y contacto incluyen dos cambios adaptativos mayores en la región, especificamente la adopción de la agricultura del maíz en el peráodo prehistórico tardáo y el énfasis en el incremento del maíz durante el período de las misiones. Antes del contacto europeo, y especialmente con anterioridad al establecimiento de las misiones españolas entre las tribus de los Guales, Yamasee, Timucua, y Apalachee, la dietafue influenciada fuertemente por factores ambientales locales. Antes del contacto, las poblaciones costeñas y del interior tenían patrones diferentes con respecto al consume) de alimentos, así como también las residentes en Georgia y Florida. Las poblaciones costeñas consumieron mayor cantidad de alimentos marinos y menor cantidad de alimentos terrestres que las poblaciones del interior. En general, el maíz fué adoptado en el sigh XI de nuestra era por casi todas las poblaciones de Georgia. Sin embargo, con la excepción del sito del Lago Jackson que es un centro mayor del Misisipí en el norte de Florida, las poblaciones de Florida antes del contacto muestran un escaso uso del maíz. Después del contacto europeo, se enfatizó y diseminó el uso del maíz, indiferentemente de la localidad o habitación dentro de la amplia región española de Florida. Parece que el proceso misionización fue un factor importante en la convergencia de las dietas nativas en la agricultura y declinamiento de la caza, pesca, y recolección. Tal incremento en el énfasis de maíz contribuyó al decaimiento en la calidad de vida de las poblaciones nativas después del arribo de los europeos.

Type
Articles
Copyright
Copyright © The Society for American Archaeology 1998

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