Albert Fulton and Dr. Catherine Yansa were awarded a National Science Foundation (NSF) Doctoral Dissertation Improvement Grant for the project entitled “Doctoral Dissertation Research: Assessing the Magnitude and Timing of Prehistoric Native American Landscape Impacts in Northeastern North America” (2015-2016) and disseminate results obtained so far.
Albert Fulton’s doctoral research evaluates the nature of prehistoric Native American land-use patterns and their environmental effects in upstate New York, U.S.A. over the last 3000 years using ecological relationships derived from statistical analysis of presettlement land survey records (PLSRs) and archaeological site distribution data, and tested using the paleoecological records from three lake coring sites. Specifically, this research hypothesizes that changes in aboriginal settlement and subsistence patterns associated with the regional introduction of cultigens, including maize, fostered the use of a progressively wider range of local and regional ecosystems for the subsistence needs of local human populations. The research findings indicate that Iroquoian nations had created two types of anthropogenic landscapes – one primarily agricultural, the other mainly silvicultural – by the time of European contact (~1600 CE). This research contributes to broader discussions regarding the duration, intensity, and spatial dynamics of prehistoric Native American land-use practices in the Americas, and seeks to disseminate research findings to communities of interest, including modern Iroquois nations.
For more information on the research, visit the website: http://www.geo.msu.edu/extra/iroquois/