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Vickers focus and mortlach-examining cultural connections in the Makotchi-Ded Dontipi locale



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Many of the pre-contact and early contact cultures of the Northern Plains have been the subjects of debate in archaeological circles. Mortlach and Vickers focus are no exception. One of the issues to date is the possible relationship between these two groups. A key to understanding this relationship lies in the Makotchi-Ded Dontipi locale in Manitoba’s Lauder Sandhills. This unique “ecological island” is home to a great number of sites (Hamilton and Nicholson1999), including neighboring Vickers focus and Mortlach sites.This study offers the results of a comprehensive analysis of the pottery assemblages recovered from the Jackson, Vera, Twin Fawns, Schuddemat and Hollow B sites of the Makotchi-Ded Dontipi locale. In addition, it examines the prior cultural affiliation of these sites. Though in many ways different from eastern Vickers focus assemblages, Jackson and Vera assemblages should be considered Vickers focus. Many of the discrepancies are due to the changing nature of the sites over time in conjunction with contact with neighboring Mortlach groups. Schuddemat and Twin Fawns also differ from typical Mortlach assemblages. These differences can be attributed to their location on the eastern periphery of the Mortlach spatial distribution where they came in contact with, and were likely joined by Vickers focus people.Mortlach, Vickers focus and Wascana ware are likely all a part of a larger phenomenon of eastern Woodlands migration onto the Canadian Plains. These cultures became distinct over time through interaction with neighboring groups and exploitation of territorial resource bases. Though distinct, they share a number of similarities reflecting common ancestors. These similarities culminate in the Makotchi-Ded Dontipi locale where interaction between Mortlach and Vickers focus people likely resulted in the amalgamation of Vickers focus into Mortlach. This amalgamation is reflected in the pottery assemblages of Twin Fawns and Schuddemat which seem to represent a Vickers variant of the Lake Midden subphase of Mortlach.



pottery, Late Woodland, Vickers focus, Mortlach



Master of Arts (M.A.)


Applied Microbiology and Food Science


Applied Microbiology and Food Science



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