The Swantek Site: Late prehistoric Oneota expansion and ethnogenesis

Daniel Christopher Pugh
Dept. of Anthropology, University of Michigan
July, 2010


Excavations at the Swantek Site near Genoa, Nebraska reveal a substantial settlement dating to the 13 th and 14 th centuries AD. The materials at the site show clear influence from Oneota culture, which was not previously believed to have significant presence in the Central Plains. Investigation of the materials and information from other sites in the region suggest that Oneota people migrated into the region during the Developmental Horizon, displacing indigenous Central Plains tradition populations. Understanding this process requires an examination of tribal social boundaries and the limits of tribal flexibility. By delving into current models of tribal organization and ethnographic case studies, a two-part model of ethnogenesis--the processes by which entirely new tribal societies are formed--is constructed.