By James A. Ford, R. Lee Lyman, Professor Michael J. O'Brien, Gordon Willey
A Dan Josselyn Memorial Publication
This selection of Ford's works makes a speciality of the improvement of ceramic chronology—a key instrument in Americanist archaeology.
When James Ford started archaeological fieldwork in 1927, students divided time easily into prehistory and heritage. although definitely motivated by way of his colleagues, Ford committed his lifestyles to constructing a chronology for prehistory in accordance with ceramic varieties, and this present day he merits credits for bringing chronological order to the immense archaeological checklist of the Mississippi Valley.
This e-book collects Ford's seminal writings exhibiting the significance of pottery types in courting websites, inhabitants events, and cultures. those works outlined the advance of ceramic chronology that culminated within the significant quantity Archaeological Survey within the reduce Mississippi Alluvial Valley, 1940-1947, which Ford wrote with Philip Phillips and James B. Griffin. as well as Ford's early writings, the gathering comprises articles written with Griffin and Gordon Willey, in addition to different key papers by way of Henry Collins and Fred Kniffen.
Editors Michael O'Brien and Lee Lyman have written an advent that units the degree for every bankruptcy and offers a cohesive framework from which to check Ford's rules. A foreword by means of Willey, himself a player during this chronology improvement, appears to be like again at the beginning of that procedure. Measuring the movement of Time strains the improvement of tradition heritage in American archaeology via supplying a unmarried reference for all of Ford's writing on chronology. It chronicles the formation of 1 of crucial instruments for figuring out the prehistory of North the US and exhibits its lasting relevance.
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Extra resources for Measuring the Flow of Time: The Works of James A. Ford, 1935-1941
Willey's recollection about the drive he and Ford made from Macon to Baton Rouge indicates something about Ford's vision for the future of archaeological work in the South: Jim told me that after a year at Michigan he would return to Louisiana and set up a big WPA program of excavation in the state. In this connection, he planned a large, central laboratory, and he wanted me to take charge of it for him .... I was excited by the idea. Jim could outline and present a research program like a call to arms.
Ford 1935a:9) The obvious artifacts to use in uncovering the past were the millions of pottery sherds that littered the Louisiana landscape, and the obvious place to look for change was in designs on the pottery: "As the chronology of this key culture element is easier to discover by working from the known back into the unknown past, the first task becomes that of discovering the types of pottery and pottery decorations used by the tribes that came in contact with the whites" (Ford 1935a:10). By the early 1930s archaeologists working in Louisiana and Mississippi had tied specific kinds of pottery decoration to four major ethnic groups of the historical period: the Caddo, located primarily in northern Louisiana; the Choctaw, located in central Mississippi along and east of the Pearl River; the Natchez, located in western Mississippi from Vicksburg on the north to Natchez on the south; and the Tunica, located in extreme northeastern Louisiana and in western Mississippi from Vicksburg north to Yazoo City.
What there is favors the greater age of the Bayou Cutler complex. The check-stamp ware of the Bayou Cutler complex occasionally appears in the Bayou Petre. On the other hand, no diagnostic trait ofthe Bayou Petre complex, such as handles, appears in the type Bayou Cutler collections. (Kniffen 1936:414) Note Kniffen's use of the word trait here. He did not say that no diagnostic type of the Bayou Petre complex showed up in Bayou Cutler collections; rather, he said no diagnostic trait showed up. This kept his argument from being tautological, meaning he did not decide an assemblage was either Bayou Cutler or Bayou Petre on the basis of a Bayou Cutler or Bayou Petre pottery type.