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:

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Historians and anthropologists—largely looking at the same documentary sources—have come to diametrically opposite conclusions about the state of Iroquois society during the first half of the eighteenth century. Some, including Richter, Fenton, Haan, and Snow, interpret the era as one of decline; others, such as Aquila and Parmenter, view it as a time of restoration and continued autonomy. Archaeology's value in such a context of scholarly disagreement is that it can test the divergent interpretations. Most notably, archaeology provides a record of the conditions of daily life in particular Iroquois villages, which is the material basis upon which local political economies were built. Incorporation of archaeological data at the regional, community, household, feature, and artifactual levels, coupled with a reassessment of historical documents in light of the picture of daily life provided by archaeology, gives conclusive and solid support for a positive interpretation of the state of Seneca society in the first half of the eighteenth century. This chapter summarizes major trends during the 1687–1754 period in the Seneca homeland, integrating the documentary information presented in Chapter 3 with the archaeological data set out in the remainder of the volume. It emphasizes the material conditions of Seneca daily life, political-economic upturns and downturns, and distinctions between Seneca local political economies and those in other parts of Iroquois territory.

Keywords: Senecas; Iroquois; political economy; archaeology; archaeological data; homeland

Chapter.  6977 words. 

Subjects: History of the Americas

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