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Recent research on Middle-Late Woodland and Mississippian subsistence-settlement change has modified substantially the traditional models of late fall, coastal to interior transhumance patterns along the southeastern Atlantic Coast. The archeological, ethnohistorical, and environmental data suggest that the interior Lower Coastal Plain of South Carolina was exploited on a year-round basis during the late prehistoric period. These data and those recovered from two archeological sites, which were investigated by the Institute of Archeology and Anthropology for the U. S. Army Corps of Engineers' Cooper River Rediversion Project, indicate differences in the subsistence strategies between the Middle-Late Woodland and Mississippian populations, however. The Middle-Late Woodland settlement pattern appears to reflect generalized exploitation of riverine and interriverine resources, whereas the Mississippian exploitation strategy apparently focuses on the intensive exploitation of a relatively narrow range of specific, high density, riverine resources. A series of interrelated hypotheses, deduced from economic ecological theory, characterizes the expected nature of these differences. The hypotheses are tested using paleoecological data and deriving archeological measures of functional variability for the artifact assemblages recovered from sites 38BK235 and 3BBK236 located in the riverine zone. The results support intensive exploitation of the interior riverine zone in the summer and early fall by both Middle-Late Woodland and Mississippian groups, with the Mississippian occupation having more and better defined activity areas and showing a greater range of diversity and functional specificity in the artifact assemblage.

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The South Carolina Institute of Archaeology and Anthropology--University of South Carolina




Excavations, Woodland Period, Mississippian Period, Coastal Plain, South Carolina, Archaeology




This is Volume 6 in the Institute's 'Anthropological Studies' papers, and it was assembled by Mark J. Brooks and Veletta Canouts.

Modeling Subsistence Change in the Late Prehistoric Period in the Interior Lower Coastal Plain of South Carolina

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