Date of Award

Spring 4-1-2011

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



First Advisor

Douglas B. Bamforth

Second Advisor

Catherine Cameron

Third Advisor

Gerardo Gutierrez


This thesis explores the utility of cultural taxonomic systems, specifically those used on the Central Plains of North America during the Middle Plains Woodland period, through comparison of the Wallace site, a seasonal Middle Plains Woodland residential camp in south-central Nebraska, to other Middle Plains Woodland sites. To accomplish this, chipped stone and spatial analyses are performed to clarify and explore site structure at the Wallace site, resulting in interpretation of the site as a cold-weather seasonal camp that was likely reoccupied. These analyses also result in identification of activity and refuse areas, details of the structure and use of the house basin, and conclusions about behavioral patterns that contributed to the site structure. Comparison of the Wallace site to other temporally and geographically related sites demonstrates that shared traits are better represented as a continuum than through separation of the sites into mutually exclusive categories like those used in cultural taxonomic models and that the differences highlighted by the use of taxonomic systems may be attributable, at least in part, to the limited sample size of Central Plains sites from this period.