Population Structure and Skeletal Variation in the Late Woodland of West-Central Illinois

Am J Phys Anthropol. 1990 May;82(1):31-43. doi: 10.1002/ajpa.1330820105.


This paper analyzes nonmetric trait variation in 11 late Late Woodland (ca. AD 700-1000) and one Mississippian (AD 1000-1300) skeletal samples from west-central Illinois from a population-structure perspective. Most of the sites are of the Bluff phase of Late Woodland in the lower Illinois River valley; others are from a nearby, contemporary archaeological phase. Late Woodland as a whole era (ca. AD 250-1000) was a period of marked population growth and expansion into new regional environments, trends that accompanied horticultural intensification in the area. Overall variation between sites was low, but males, females, and the total sample exhibited a significant geographic component to variation due to interregional morphological differences. The Bluff sites tended to group together relative to the non-Bluff sites. However, there was no significant geographic component to variation among the Bluff sites. The results are only partially consistent with archaeological data suggesting population growth and expansion through fissioning. Previous studies have demonstrated significant heterogeneity for nonmetric trait frequencies among Middle Woodland (ca. 100 BC to AD 250) sites, suggesting a Middle to Late Woodland change in population structure that lowered levels of morphological variation. This supports a model of increased intra- and interregional interaction from Middle to Late Woodland times developed from ceramic data by Braun and by Braun and Plog.

Publication types

  • Historical Article
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Bone and Bones / anatomy & histology*
  • Chi-Square Distribution
  • Female
  • History, Ancient
  • Humans
  • Illinois
  • Male
  • Paleontology*
  • Software