The Logic of Dispersed Settlement

Kurt A. Jordan

in The Seneca Restoration, 1715–1754

Published by University Press of Florida

Published in print September 2008 | ISBN: 9780813032511
Published online September 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780813039428 | DOI:
The Logic of Dispersed Settlement

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In about 1715 Senecas living at the White Springs site abandoned their nucleated, hilltop village and resettled in several small “neighborhoods” arrayed along Burrell Creek. Although this move, like earlier short-distance relocations to new nucleated settlements, was likely prompted by ecological concerns such as resource depletion and pest infestation, this particular village move involved a complete transformation in the structure of the eastern Seneca community. This chapter provides a detailed look at the uses Townley-Read residents made of space, and offers a new interpretation of the motivations for and consequences of community segmentation and site-level residential dispersal. Although most primary and secondary sources characterize dispersal in negative terms, excavation data collected by the Townley-Read/New Ganechstage Project suggest that Seneca dispersal was a reasoned and rational response to a particular set of political, economic, and ecological conditions.

Keywords: Senecas; Burrell Creek; Iroquois dispersal; settlements; neighborhoods

Chapter.  10316 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: History of the Americas

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