Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)




Professor Peter Ramsden




This archaeological study focuses on the identification and analysis of prehistoric Iroquoian migration patterns, and the examination of the adaptations made by pioneering Middle Iroquoian horticulturalists who colonized Simcoe County in south-central Ontario in the early fourteenth century. Unlike some other areas of southern Ontario where there is clear evidence of in situ development from the Early Iroquoian through to the Late lroquoian period, the earliest Iroquoian village sites in Simcoe County date to the Middle Iroquoian period. In order to confirm that the Middle Iroquoian occupation was the result of a migration, an archaeological migration model formulated by David Anthony (1990) was adopted in this study. The Anthony (1990) model contends that migration is a structured process that develops in a predictable manner once it has begun. Several of the general migration patterns identified by Anthony, as well as several new aspects of Iroquoian migrations, were identified in this study. The results of this study indicate that Iroquoian migrations do evolve in a predictable manner and exhibit several characteristics which are readily identifiable using archaeological data. This includes familiarity with the destination area prior to the actual migration, a leapfrog settlement pattern consisting of settlement clusters, the placement of initial settlement clusters in areas which are easily accessible from the source area, an initial settlement system which has already been introduced in its final format with the placement of semi-sedentary village sites in strategic locations within resource rich areas, and rapid initial population growth rates in the newly colonized area. While any archaeological migration process will vary to some extent depending on the physical environment, socio-political organization, technological sophistication and settlement-subsistence patterns of the group involved, the migration patterns identified here are applicable to other suspected migrations involving slash and burn horticulturalists.

McMaster University Library

Files over 3MB may be slow to open. For best results, right-click and select "save as..."

Included in

Anthropology Commons