Date of Award

May 2015

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy



First Advisor

Robert J. Jeske

Committee Members

John Richards, Patricia Richards, Lindsay McHenry, David Overstreet


The time between A. D. 1050 – 1400 is a period of dynamic cultural change in the

Western Great Lakes region. During this time period in eastern Wisconsin three distinct

and contemporary cultural groups are present: Oneota, Middle Mississippian, and Late

Woodland. Many studies have focused on the origins, presence and interaction between

these groups. Six Oneota pottery assemblages from three geospatially distinct localities in

eastern Wisconsin are examined: Koshkonong, Grand River, and Waupaca localities.

Pottery assemblages from two sites in each locality were selected for comparison to

determine interlocality social, political, and economic interaction. Ceramic attribute and

compositional analyses were conducted and the results utilized to identify and

characterize the amount of variation between the ceramic assemblages. Compositional

analyses consisted of portable energy dispersive X-ray flourcesnce (ED-XRF) and

ceramic petrography.

Three theoretical interaction models, World-Systems Analysis, Peer Polity

Interaction, and Tribalization, are discussed and evaluated as possible models for Oneota

interaction. These interaction models examine the roles and level of economic, political,

and social interaction through trade, coersive force (military), and transmission of social

and ideological information between groups.

The results of the analysis indicate both the creation of identity markers within

localities and interaction between localities. The data indicates that some groups

interacted more than others. Grooved paddle surface treatment in the Koshkonong

locality, crimping of the lip of vessels in the Waupaca and Grand River localities, and

variations in decorative motifs demonstrate that the localities used these markers for

group identity. The ceramic petrographic analysis indicates that the groups shared

knowledge of pottery manufacturing with similar percentages of matrix, sand, and temper

in the recipe. The ED-XRF analysis indicates that pottery from the Bornick site is more

similar to pottery from sites in the Waupaca locality, while the pottery from the Walker-

Hooper site is more similar to pottery from sites in the Koshkonong locality.

During this time, the Oneota groups in eastern Wisconsin practiced patrilocal

post-marital residence patterns suggesting that women moved from their family’s to their

husband's residence, bringing their knowledge of pottery making with them. Social and

political alliances through interlocality marriages took place based on the presence of

group identity markers on pottery from one locality seen on vessels in another. Kinship

(fictive and real) relationships between localities were created from these alliances that

assisted in maintaining territorial boundaries and leadership positions to generate socialsurplus

to gain prestige and provided means of assistance in times of scarcity.

Materials supporting the research and referenced in the text of the dissertation are

included in appendices found in the table of contents. The appendices are contained

within four supplementary files. The first supplementary file contains Appendices A and

B. The second supplementary file is Appendix C. The third supplementary file is

Appendix D. The fourth supplementary file contains Appendices E-K.