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Midwestern Taxonomic System


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[Th]

A cultural‐historical classification for eastern parts of North America developed by W. C. McKern and colleagues during the 1930s. Based on artefact classifications, the system was at first simply a taxonomy with no direct relationship to time or space. A hierarchy of traits reflected in specific items and assemblages was created, the smallest unit being a component (a site or a layer within a site), gradually building up through focus, aspect, phase, and pattern, to base, which represented the most generalized grouping of cultural traits. In time, however, the system became sufficiently elaborate that its taxonomic categories acquired chronological and spatial definition.

Subjects: Archaeology.


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