Date of Award

May 2018

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy



First Advisor

Robert J Jeske

Committee Members

Patricia B Richards, John D Richards, Jean L Hudson, Jeffrey A Behm


Community, Great Lakes archaeology, Lithic analysis, Microwear analysis, Oneota, Protein residue


This dissertation is an investigation into community organization as an approach to understanding the shift from typologically complex to a simpler lithic technology after circa A.D. 500 in the Prairie Peninsula. The research compares Oneota lithic practice in western Wisconsin (A.D. 1400-1700) at the La Crosse locality to that in eastern Wisconsin (A.D. 1100-1450) at the Koshkonong locality to develop a model for communities in two different geographic and temporal contexts.

Three types of lithic analyses were conducted on nine different Wisconsin Oneota sites to achieve research goals. Assemblage analysis was conducted on all nine assemblages. The goal of this approach is to produce datasets that enable researchers to address questions about settlement patterns, procurement systems, social networks and other issues that affect raw material acquisition, tool production, tool use and tool discard. Microwear analysis was conducted on a sample of four site assemblages. This represents the first comprehensive microwear analysis to be conducted on any Oneota lithic assemblage. This dataset provides critical information on stone tool use. Finally, a small sample of lithic tools from one site was tested for protein residue. This third analysis technique provided more specific information on lithic tool function.

The data indicate that the Koshkonong Oneota tradition was characterized by a tightly knit multi-village community while evidence of such a community unit at La Crosse does not exist. Evidence from microwear analysis indicates that both men and women used lithic tools and that women produced some, if not most of the lithic tools. The decline in formal lithic tool complexity and diversity through time was likely the result of a shift in the gendered division of labor of producing stone tools.