The Death of Owasco

TitleThe Death of Owasco
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2003
AuthorsHart, JP, Brumbach, HJ
JournalAmerican Antiquity
Keywordsarchaeological systematics, Arthur C. Parker, New York, Owasco, William A. Ritchie

The Owasco culture is a critical taxon in William A. Ritchie 's culture history of New York. In its final construction, Owasco
was viewed by Ritchie as representing the onset of recognizable northern Iroquoian traits. This interpretation is widely
accepted among archaeologists currently working in New York. An examination of the history of the taxon shows that it is
nothing more than a subjectively defined unit based on the thoughts of Ritchie and his predecessor Arthur C. Parker. Recent
empirical research has shown that the key traits Ritchie used to define Owasco have very different histories than he thought.
Owasco does not stand either theoretically or empirically and should be abandoned as a unit of analysis.