People who rely upon crops they have planted and tended to themselves, rather than relying on gathering alone.


The named used by archeologists to describe the living space that belonged to one family. Each longhouse is made up of several apartments.


Anything made, modified (changed), or used by people is considered to be an artifact.


A wall set back from the main doorway of the longhouse which would have prevented drafts from entering the house.

Cross Section:

In order to see what a pit or post's outside shape looked like, archaeologists draw a line across the surface of the pit or post, cutting it in half, and dig it out one half at a time. This allows them to see whether the end of a post is round or pointed. The cross section view is drawn before the second half is excavated.


Physically planted, rather than growing on its own and wild.


The systematic removal of dirt, artifacts or other materials from the ground in order to better understand the people who had lived there.


When cross sectioned, hearths usually look thin and shallow in the soil about 5 to 10 inches (12 cm to 25 cm) deep, and elongated in shape. On floor plans, the area around hearths is often crowded with hundreds of tiny posts (about 1 inch [2.5 cm] in diameter). These posts were used to suspend meat near the fire for cooking, or for drying food or skins near the hearth.


These are the names of the buildings in which Iroquoian people lived. Longhouses were longer than they were wide, the length usually more than double the width, which is how they received their name. Some longhouses are over 300 feet (91 m) long, but no matter how long they are their width remains 22 to 24 feet (6.7m to 7.3 m).


Strong walls of tall (about 6 m) and large posts (over 30 cm in diameter) formed the palisade. The palisade protected the village from wild animals, winter weather, and from attacks by other people.


A relatively flat area of land with a steep embankment on all sides. Iroquoians built their villages high up on a plateau to help protect them. Climbing up a steep embankment toward the village made the entry into the village very difficult and the Iroquoians could easily spot people approaching.

Post mould:

Small posts of cedar, 3 to 5 inches (7.6 to 12 cm) in diameter, were used to make the walls of the longhouse structure. Large posts, about 12 to 15 inches (30 to 38 cm) in diameter, were used to support the roof of the house and the benches along the side of the houses.

Storage Area:

The area between the outside doorway and the baffle that is used to store goods. Beans, and squash were stored in huge bark casks above the ground in these spaces. Above ground storage areas are used instead of pits because the casks of corn being stored would have been very heavy. It is likely that their weight would have collapsed any below ground pits.

Storage Pit:

A hole dug into the ground where items could be stored.


The soil under the surface top soil. Most prehistoric features are found in the subsoil.

Surface Collection:

When archaeologists suspect they may have located a site, they conduct a site survey in which they walk back and forth over the site. By doing this they hope to find clues, such, as artifacts that will tell them if a site exists, as well as how large the site might be. Artifacts that are collected during a site survey make up the surface collection.