Gender Dynamics, Routine Activities, and Place in Haudenosaunee Territory: An Archaeological Case Study from the Cayuga Region of Central New York State

  • Kathleen M. Sydoriak Allen


This chapter focuses on the spatial arrangement of gendered activities on the landscape within and outside an archaeologically recovered, Haudenosaunee (Iroquois) longhouse in the Cayuga region of upstate New York. The large size of longhouses (ca. 20–40 or more meters long) means that their interiors form a cultural landscape that people move across to perform spatially distributed activities that are also related to spatially distributed activities in the broader landscape outside the longhouse. Several longhouses have been documented at two sites occupied during the mid to late 1500s in this region. I will discuss the manner in which the spatially and temporally repeated performance of gendered routine activities, particularly those associated with food preparation and domestic manufacture, organizes and determines the archaeological record, as well as the impact this has on the relative visibility of women’s and men’s work at the level of a village landscape. The analysis of feature contents results in the identification of differences between the routine practices undertaken in separate areas of one of these structures. The implications of this study for understanding the organization of economic activities as well as gender relations in Haudenosaunee society are also explored. However, analysis of activities in the structure discussed here needs to be framed within the context of the broader landscape and the patterns of activities in other longhouses that have been researched. I therefore begin by placing the settlements within the context of the broader environment. In addition, the current context of these sites includes contemporary land use and the current owners of these sites. The encouragement and participation of the landowners has allowed this research to move forward and has helped to preserve the sites within the current rural landscape.


Southern Area Food Preparation Gender Relation Archaeological Remains Gender Activity 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



I am very grateful to the wonderful landowners, Peggy Billings, Mary Lou VanBuren, Peter and Jane Hansen, and Scott and Kit Gardner, for their gracious permission to work on these sites and provide opportunities for undergraduate students at the University of Pittsburgh and elsewhere to work on and respect Native American sites in this region. I highly value their friendship and assistance. I also thank the Native people who have visited these sites over the years and have made comments that have helped in interpretations. Our landlord in Ithaca, Christopher Anagnost, and his assistant, Tracy Swearingen, have made great contributions to the success of our field school and I am grateful to them. Thanks also to the many who have worked on these sites both in the field and in the lab. Special thanks to Myrtle Shock and Kate Birmingham for their efforts in this regard. I also appreciate the comments and advice offered by Nicole Constable, Katheryn Linduff, and Bryan Hanks on an earlier draft of this manuscript. Tables 1 and 2 previously appeared in Allen 2009 published by the University of Tennessee Press. Technical assistance provided by Mark Mooney and Adam Berrey made final production of figures possible. I am especially grateful to the book editors, Sherene Baugher and Suzanne Spencer-Wood, for their support, encouragement, and assistance. Their comments greatly improved the structure and flow of this paper and I am very appreciative of their efforts. Any errors or omissions that remain are my responsibility alone.


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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Anthropology, University of PittsburghPittsburghUSA

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