Lithic Material Use in the Upper Yadkin River Valley and Its Implications for Southeastern Late Woodland Exchange Networks


Over the last several decades, archaeologists have become increasingly interested in a variety of cultural behaviors along the edges of the Mississippian world. Although most research has focused on the Mississippian side of this boundary, there is obvious utility in understanding the societies on the other side, particularly where interaction across the cultural frontier may have occurred. This research seeks to understand the economic behavior among one of these societies, the Piedmont Village Tradition (PVT) in the upper Yadkin River Valley (UYRV). It compares the relative counts and weights of local and non-local materials between fifteen sites and analyzed the reduction characteristics of flake assemblages at three sites. The goal is to understand how these different lithic materials were being used and what their patterning tells us about PVT exchange patterns, or lack thereof. The results suggest that UYRV communities did not have equal access to rhyolite sources, which were used by PVT groups across the Piedmont. Two later sites, previously reported by Ned Woodall, had higher concentrations of Appalachian chert, suggesting interactions shifted toward Mississippian neighbors over time. Research like this can help us address several broader topics, such as the size and structure of Pre-Columbian trade networks and the economic relationships between hierarchical and egalitarian neighbors.

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