The Death of Owasco--Redux

TitleThe Death of Owasco--Redux
Publication TypeBook Chapter
Year of Publication2011
AuthorsHart, JP
EditorRieth, CB, Hart, JP
Book TitleCurrent Research in New York State Archaeology: A.D. 700-1300
Series TitleNew York State Museum Record
Series Volume2
PublisherThe University of the State of New York
CityAlbany, New York
Keywordsarchaeological systmatics, New York, Owasco

Owasco is a culture-historic taxon originally defined by Arthur C. Parker and later refined by William A. Ritchie in the first half of the twentieth century. This taxon was at the heart of a debate on northern Iroquoian origins in the 1990s and early 2000s. In a 2003 article Brumbach and I announced “The Death of Owasco” based on an analysis of the histories of the traits used to establish the boundary between Owasco culture and the earlier Point Peninsula culture. Here I review the research on these traits since that publication that indicate an even more extended and complex set of independent histories. I reiterate the need for archaeologists to move away from culture-historic taxa as units of analysis, interpretation, and summary.