Kareen  Hawsey

PhD


Research Interests

My interests primarily lie in prehistoric Southeastern archaeology. Specifically, I focus on the late Woodland to early Mississippian transition, during which complex societies dependent upon maize agriculture emerged. I am particularly interested in how this transition occurred, as well as the ways in which hunter-gatherer groups interacted with those of early agriculturalists in the region.

My M.A. research involved a morphological and functional analysis of terminal Woodland West Jefferson phase pottery in the Black Warrior Valley of Alabama. I explored whether technological changes in pottery reflect the transition from hunter-gatherer societies to complex agricultural ones that occurred circa A.D. 1070. I argued that indigenous potters tended to be technologically conservative, as my research indicated that they were not adopting the pottery forms or food processing technologies of intrusive Mississippian populations.

My current Ph.D. research addresses similar issues involving early agriculturalists in Central Alabama. Although the subject of little archaeological attention, large White Oak phase village sites along the central Alabama River are perhaps some of the earliest sedentary maize agriculturalists in the region. I am examining White Oak settlement patterns, subsistence, and pottery morphology and function, with the hope that this research will contribute to broader research questions concerning the spread of maize agriculture throughout the region.