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Harness Lecture Series: Climate Change, Migration and the Emergence of Fort Ancient Societies
August 13 @ 7:00 pm - 8:00 pm
Aaron Comstock, PhD, Post-Doctoral Researcher, Ohio State University; “Climate Change, Migration, and the Emergence of Fort Ancient Societies in the Middle Ohio Valley”
For millennia the Native inhabitants of the Middle Ohio Valley cultivated local crops and lived relatively mobile lifestyles. By approximately AD 1100 a clear shift to sedentary village life and maize agriculture is evident throughout much of the region. This transition is typically considered as a result of gradual cultural change stemming from diffusion and local demographic pressures. Recent research in the Miami Valleys of southwest Ohio and southeast Indiana has begun to highlight the role of rapid change resulting from the migration of agriculturalists into parts of the region. This paper focuses on recent work at Turpin and Guard, two early Fort Ancient villages in the lower Miami Valleys, presenting archaeological and biological evidence of an influx of non-local people and a new agricultural lifestyle. This pattern is then explored at a broader scale that examines why people moved from Mississippian centers into peripheral regions like the Middle Ohio Valley.