Bioarchaeological Analysis of the Winnebago Phase Oneota:
Implications for Reconstructing Diet and Intergroup Violence
Ph.D. Assistant Professor University of Wisconsin- Oshkosh
October 17th, 2016, 7:00 pm
Sabin Hall Room G90
University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee
Skeletal evidence of violent trauma has been frequently mentioned in NAGPRA analyses and site reports for human remains associated with the late prehistoric Oneota archaeological culture of Wisconsin. However, to date, no research has been produced examining Oneota violent trauma from a population perspective. My recent research has worked to resolve this issue by systematically examining human skeletal remains for evidence of violent trauma from six Oneota sites located near Lake Winnebago. A total of 126 individuals were examined, and evidence for violent trauma was observed on 20.63% of the available skeletons. This high rate, the likely cause of the trauma, and the location of wounds suggests that the Lake Winnebago Phase Oneota were experiencing endemic intergroup violence, likely caused by relatively frequent raiding. In addition to trauma analysis, all of the dentitions associated with the Oneota were also examined for evidence of dental pathology, with the aim of reconstructing dietary behavior. In total, slightly over 8% of the 979 teeth studied were found to have evidence of dental caries, while over 12% of observable alveoli displayed evidence of antemortem tooth loss. Based on comparative data, these relatively high rates suggest that the Oneota relied on a highly cariogenic diet, implying that maize was frequently consumed.