My research revolves around examining variation in domestic household and palisade wall architecture to understand: 1) integration of migrants and locals in "frontier zones," 2) expressions of social identity at the household level, and 3) multi-cultural community formation. I'm undertaking this research at Aztalan, a Mississippian and Late Woodland precontact site in southeastern Wisconsin.
In 2015, Sissel Schroeder and I directed geophysical survey and excavation at Aztalan with a goal to find and investigate houses. Examining variation in domestic architecture will help us better understand how the Mississippian migrants and local Woodland peoples integrated at Aztalan, how their identities were expressed at the household level, and how they formed their new, hybrid community.
We discovered several superimposed structures (all containing both Mississippian and Woodland material culture) in the part of the site typically interpreted as a public plaza. Reconciling the existence of these structures with conventional narratives about the site requires that we alter our considerations of the organization and use of space at Aztalan, and how we view the site itself.