Masters Theses

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts



Major Professor

Benjamin M. Auerbach

Committee Members

David G. Anderson, Graciela S. Cabana, Kandace D. Hollenbach


The cultural manifestation known as the Shell Mound Archaic persisted in the lower Midwest and Midsouth region of the Eastern United States for over four millennia beginning in the Middle Archaic ca. 8900 cal BP and terminating at the end of the Late Archaic ca 3200 cal BP. A geospatial approach is applied to the analysis of exotic material exchange of the Late Archaic (ca. 5800-3200 cal BP) to assess how foraging peoples in the Tennessee River Valley interacted and persisted during this time. Exotic material items manufactured from copper, marine shell, steatite, and other nonlocal materials demonstrate distinct spatial patterns. The results suggest the long-distance exchange networks developing in the Late Archaic varied between the lower and upper Tennessee River and reveal a regional awareness that likely contributed to increased interaction, sociability, and cultural exchanges beyond materiality.

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