Revisiting the resilience of Late Archaic hunter-gatherers along the Georgia coast

TitleRevisiting the resilience of Late Archaic hunter-gatherers along the Georgia coast
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2016
AuthorsTurck, JA, Thompson, VD
JournalJournal of Anthropological Archaeology
Pagination39 - 55

Abstract This paper addresses fisher-hunter-gatherer settlement and subsistence variability of the Georgia Coast during the Archaic-Woodland transition, framed within ideas derived from Resilience Theory, and focusing on systemic shifts, or “collapse.” A critical examination of these shifts is needed to understand how communities experience change differentially, which in turn can lead to differential community resilience. Analysis of site file and radiocarbon date databases, as well as Bayesian modeling on a subset of dates, was performed at multiple scales and within distinct micro-environmental habitats. Results indicate that as sea levels dropped, there was continuity in Late Archaic occupation within deltaic areas of the coast, with intensive shellfishing occurring earlier (∼5000 cal. BP) and lasting longer (∼3500 cal. BP). In certain habitats, occupation may have continued into the following Early Woodland period. In non-deltaic areas, shellfishing occurs between 4500 and 3800 cal. BP, followed by subsistence changes and population movement. However, some of the post-3800 cal. \{BP\} occupations were fairly substantial. This differential experience of change between deltaic and non-deltaic areas was not accompanied by collapse: both areas had resilient communities. We conclude that inter-village relationships developed during the early Late Archaic period continued into the terminal portion, leading to resilience in the face of change.