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The short and the long of it: combining timescales

Part of: Society for American Archaeology 80th Annual Meeting, San Francisco, CA (2015)

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Documents

  • Approaches for Producing Precise Archaeological Chronologies (2015)
    Citation DOCUMENT

    For the fortunate few, dendrochronology allows an annual window into the archaeological record. Over the past 20 years, however, Bayesian chronological modelling has brought chronologies precise to within the scale of past lifetimes and generations within the reach of all archaeologists. Explicit statistical modelling allows radiocarbon dates to be interpreted within the framework of existing knowledge provided by associated archaeological evidence, providing more precise dating and thus...

  • British Iron Age settlement chronologies: a view from Danebury hillfort (2015)
    Citation DOCUMENT

    Traditional approaches to the Iron Age have constructed complex chronologies based on artifact typologies, mainly pottery and metal, with radiocarbon long being neglected. Such views are now untenable, with recent Iron Age research showing that typological dating produces sequences that are regularly too late. Furthermore, regional syntheses anchored by chrono-typologies fail to provide a robust analytical methodology for better understanding the nuances of the settlement landscape and social...

  • A chronology of generations? A site-based study from the 6-5th Mill. settlement and cemetery of Alsónyék, South Western Hungary (2015)
    Citation DOCUMENT

    The Alsónyék Neolithic site was found in the course of a motorway project. The earliest occupants were the first farmers arriving from the North Balkans. After a short gap two later Neolithic occupations were followed by an immense settlement and cemetery of the Lengyel culture: 120 robust houses and in sum 2400 burials could be excavated alone on the motorway track, and this size, completed with geomagnetic surveys, is left without any parallels in Central European Neolithic. In this key area,...

  • Early farmers’ house and household. Interpreting a Bayesian chronology for the Anatolian and Central European Neolithic (2015)
    Citation DOCUMENT

    Anatolian and Central European Neolithic reveal some striking parallels in social developments. Different communal arrangements appear to be predominant in the Early Neolithic and autonomous household occupying discrete residences and performing most domestic activities in the house became clearly bonded entity only towards the end of this period and beyond. Recently conducted Bayesian analysis of a large number of AMS radiocarbon dates from both areas allow the pace of changes of the domestic...

  • The effects of temporal coarse-graining on inferred networks of human movement (2015)
    Citation DOCUMENT

    Analyses using tree-ring dates provide an attractive test-bed for examining effects of temporal coarse-graining in archaeological contexts, due to the high-resolution of dendrochronology. After compiling a database of every known tree-ring date in the U.S. Southwest, we use tree-ring-date counts and locations as proxies for gridded human population estimates in the upland portions of the SW US. Grid-squares that lose dates are connected to nearby grid squares that gain dates as we move from one...

  • A History of Convergences: Timescales, Temporalities, and Mississippian Beginnings (2015)
    Citation DOCUMENT

    An early Mississippian world came about at and around Cahokia in the eleventh century CE owing to the convergences of people with other organisms, celestial objects, atmospheric conditions, landforms, and elements, each with their own distinctive temporalities and affects. Understanding those convergences historically entails grappling with timing and duration, and we offer a Bayesian reading of the latest radiocarbon datasets considered against the backdrop of the suspected periodicities of the...

  • Locating Events in Process: A Multiscalar Examination of Early Pottery in the Southeastern U.S. Using Bayesian Statistics (2015)
    Citation DOCUMENT

    One of archaeology’s unique strengths is the ability to construct cultural histories that span vast spatiotemporal scales. It is imperative, however, that these so-called "big histories" be balanced with consideration of the actual events through which they were experienced and contributed to by real people occupying diverse contexts. In the southeastern U.S., the initial adoption of pottery technology has been variously portrayed as either a protracted diffusionary process with few discernable...

  • The long and short of it: timescales for cultural change and transmission in the Vinca complex of SE Europe (2015)
    Citation DOCUMENT

    The Times of Their Lives project has produced modelled date estimates for the major phases of the Vinca complex in SE Europe, spanning the later sixth to mid-fifth millennium cal BC. That is a considerable advance in our understanding of the broad rate of cultural change. But site-specific date estimates within the complex also allow detailed comparisons of the timing of the introduction of novel material forms, especially in pottery, down to a much more precise scale. Examples from the...

  • Modelling the chronology of Neolithic ceramics in eastern France (2015)
    Citation DOCUMENT

    The associations of decorative motifs on Neolithic pots from the Alsace region of the upper Rhine valley, eastern France, have been rigorously studied by Philippe Lefranc and Anthony Denaire using correspondence analysis. Separate sequences are available for the Early (LBK) Neolithic pottery and for a series of related Middle Neolithic ceramic styles, running from the later sixth to later fifth millennia cal BC. Within the ‘Times of Their Lives’ project, the absolute chronology of this cultural...

  • Of Braudel & Beams: How Tree-ring Dating Enables the Study of Transformative Social Changes in the Ancient Southwest U.S. (2015)
    Citation DOCUMENT

    Fernand Braudel said, "History may be divided into three movements: what moves rapidly, what moves slowly and what appears not to move at all." Archaeologists gravitate towards the longue durée–cultural continuities and traditions–but our most important questions have traditionally focused on transformative changes such as the rise of the state, the collapse of empires, or the origins of agriculture. Armed with imprecise dating methods, archaeologists have tended to view transformative changes...

  • Uniform Probability Density Analysis and Population History in the Tewa Basin, New Mexico (2015)
    Citation DOCUMENT

    One of the basic challenges facing archaeology is translating surface evidence into population estimates with sufficient chronological resolution for demographic analysis. The problem is especially acute when one is working with sites inhabited across multiple chronological periods. In this paper I present a Bayesian method that deals with this situation. This method combines uniform distributions derived from a local pottery chronology with pottery assemblage data to reconstruct the population...

Arizona State University The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation National Science Foundation National Endowment for the Humanities Society for American Archaeology Archaeological Institute of America