Nation Building and Social Signaling in Southern Ontario AD 1350-1650

John P Hart, Termeh Shafie, Jennifer Birch, Susan Dermarkar, Ronald F Williamson



Pottery is a mainstay of archaeological analysis worldwide. Often, high proportions of the pottery recovered from a given site are decorated in some manner. In northern Iroquoia, late pre-contact pottery and early contact decoration commonly occur on collars—thick bands of clay that encircle a pot and extend several centimeters down from the lip. These decorations constitute signals that conveyed information about a pot’s user(s). In southern Ontario the period A.D. 1350 to 1650 witnessed substantial changes in socio-political and settlement systems that included population movement, coalescence of formerly separate communities into large villages and towns, waxing and waning of regional strife, the formation of nations, and finally the development of three confederacies that each occupied distinct, constricted areas. Social network analysis demonstrates that signaling practices changed to reflect these regional patterns. Networks become more consolidated through time ultimately resulting in a “small world” network with small degrees of separation between sites reflecting the integration of communities within and between the three confederacies.

PLoS ONE 11(5), e0156178