Date of Award

December 2013

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science



First Advisor

John D. Richards

Committee Members

Robert J. Jeske, Kathryn C. Egan-Bruhy


Archaeobotany, Aztalan, Late Woodland, Maize, Middle Mississippian, Paleoethnobotany


Located in Southeast Wisconsin on the west bank of the Crawfish River, the Aztalan site was first settled by horticultural Late Woodland peoples. By the mid-eleventh century A.D., Middle Mississippian migrants arrived from the south. The site was eventually transformed into a fortified village with three platform mounds. During the later component, Middle Mississippian and Late Woodland peoples appear to have coexisted. This thesis consists of a diachronic comparison of floral subsistence remains and maize race at the site. The results of the analysis indicate that while the Late Woodland inhabitants grew maize, food production involving maize and native cultigens was intensified following the appearance of Mississippian traits. The transformation of the site into a fortified agricultural village may have related to intergroup hostility within the region and territorial circumscription. The analysis also identified a possible early Mississippian feasting context. Maize race data indicate both an Eastern Great Lakes connection tied to collared Late Woodland pottery, and a southern, likely American Bottom, connection. This thesis also explores environmental and social explanations for differences between the Aztalan floral assemblage and Late Woodland and Oneota subsistence within the region.