Date of Award
Master of Science (MS)
Department of Sociology and Anthropology: Archaeology
The Noble-Wieting site is an Upper Mississippian Langford Tradition village and burial mound, located in east-central Illinois on the outskirts of the Langford Tradition region and distant from other known Mississippian villages. Archaeological excavations at Noble-Wieting during the 1960s and 1970s unearthed features within limited sections of the site, leaving a large portion unexplored. Excavations revealed a higher than average percentage of shell-tempered Middle Mississippian pottery as compared to other Langford villages, giving rise to questions regarding internal changes of cultural identity and suggestions of isolation from contemporary communities. However, the 1976 excavations in the southern portion of the site had yet to be processed, leaving a gap within the archaeological record that could prove initial conclusions inconsistent with material culture.
This project examines concepts of changing cultural identity while broadening the understanding of the external social interactions between Langford and Mississippian groups in the borderland region. In this thesis, the unprocessed excavation data from 1976 was analyzed and compiled with previous data to present an expanded view of the internal composition of the site and distribution of material culture. Material analysis resulted in a smaller proportion of shell-tempered ceramics at the site than previously concluded and no other Middle Mississippian artifacts, which suggests interaction with or influence from those groups was more limited than hypothesized for this thesis. However, the percentage of 18.75% of shell-tempered ceramics remains higher than most Langford villages. Examination of the surrounding area led to identification of other Langford sites, such as the nine Hinshaw A sites, thus revealing less isolation from other Langford people than has been suggested. GIS mapping was created to highlight other possible habitation locations within the east-central Illinois area.
Advancing the interpretations of this site’s spatial and material culture relation within its own borders, as well as its connections to contemporary Langford and Middle Mississippian peoples in the surrounding area, contributes to the field of archaeology’s foundational knowledge for the Langford Tradition and for understanding changes in cultural identity along border regions between cultures.
Travis, Kristin R., "Broadening Our Understanding of Noble-Wieting: A Langford Tradition Village in Central Illinois" (2019). Theses and Dissertations. 1132.