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The Age of Common Beans in the (Phaseolus vulgaris) Northeastern United States

Author(s): John P. Hart ; C. Margaret Scarry

Year: 1999

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A radiocarbon date of A.D. 1070 ± 60 was linked to the remains of maize (Zea mays), beans (Phaseolus vulgaris), and squash (Cucurbita pepo) at the Roundtop site in the Susquehanna River valley of New York by William Ritchie in 1969 and 1973 publications. This date established the presence a/beans in the Northeast at an earlier time than in most other areas a/the eastern United States, where they are generally rare before A.D. 1300. Subsequently beans have been reported in pre-A.D. 1300 contexts from at least eight other sites in the Northeast, Recent calibrated AMS dates on beans from Roundtop are no earlier than A.D. 1300 (Hart 1999a). Given that the original Roundtop date was responsible for the acceptance of early beans in the Northeast, the AMS dates suggested that beans may not become archaeologically visible there until ca. A.D. 1300. AMS dates on beans from four other sites, reported here, substantiate the Roundtop results. Beans and by extension maize-beans-squash intercropping are not evident in the Northeast before ca. A.D. 1300.

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Cite this Record

The Age of Common Beans in the (Phaseolus vulgaris) Northeastern United States. John P. Hart, C. Margaret Scarry. American Antiquity. 64 (4): 653-658. 1999 ( tDAR id: 391805) ; doi:10.6067/XCV8PV6NKF


Temporal Coverage

Radiocarbon Date: 1130 to 1010 (AMS date of maize, beans, and squash )

Spatial Coverage

min long: -79.75; min lat: 39.943 ; max long: -71.378; max lat: 43.771 ;

File Information

  Name Size Creation Date Date Uploaded Access
1999-Hart-and-Scarry-Beans-in-the-NE.pdf 283.37kb Jan 2, 2014 2:09:49 PM Public
Arizona State University The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation National Science Foundation National Endowment for the Humanities Society for American Archaeology Archaeological Institute of America