“Archers on the March” Reconsidered: A Critical Assessment of Avonlea and its Expanding Periphery
Karr, Landon Patrick
Outram, Alan K
Reason for embargo
This is the author accepted manuscript. It is currently under an indefinite embargo pending publication by Taylor and Francis.
The Avonlea complex was originally defined based largely on the presence of small, finely worked projectile points found at a number of bison kill and processing sites on the Canadian Plains. More recently, discoveries on the periphery of the Avonlea zone have produced evidence that suggests similarities to the Avonlea heartland. As evidence for the geographic expanse, temporal range, and material cultural breadth of sites associated with Avonlea continues to expand, the identification of the Avonlea complex, its nature as a single transregional adaptation, and the technological- and skill-based considerations that drive the broad similarities between Late Prehistoric projectile points types on the Northern Plains must be questioned. Recent excavations at the Mitchell Prehistoric Indian Village, an Initial Middle Missouri village in southeastern South Dakota, have revealed projectile points that adhere to Avonlea diagnostic criteria, and others that closely resemble Avonlea points. This article explores the relationship between the well-accepted Avonlea complex of the Canadian Plains and sites distant from the Avonlea heartland, and surveys some of the problems inherent in defining a geographically large, temporally disparate, and materially diverse cultural complex. This study assesses the nature of Avonlea as a transregional complex and critically assesses its utility as a typological classification.