Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



First Advisor

Sarah Neusius, Ph.D.

Second Advisor

Beverly Chiarulli, Ph.D.

Third Advisor

Phillip Neusius, Ph.D.


The period after A.D. 1100 in western Pennsylvania was a dynamic period in history occupied by diverse populations with rapidly changing social interactions. The Johnston site located in Indiana County represents one of the most important village sites during this period. Through a combination of ceramic analyses and radiocarbon dating previous hypotheses posited about this site are investigated. Archaeologists have relied on final twist direction of cordage impressions on shell-tempered and cord-marked ceramics to argue for population amalgamation between social groups from northwestern and southwestern Pennsylvania. In addition, ceramics recovered from the site have been used to define the date range for occupation at the site and for the Johnston phase of the late Middle Monongahela period. By combining radiocarbon dating and ceramic analyses these previous hypotheses are investigated. Specifically the usefulness of using cordage twist as a sole attribute to define social groups at the intrasite level is challenged.