Macrofloral, Phytolith, and Starch Analysis, and AMS Radiocarbon Dating for the Permian Basin MOA, New Mexico


The goal of the Permian Basin MOA Task Order 10 was to analyze 500 AMS radiocarbon samples collected from feature context by the Carlsbad Field Office Cultural Resource Staff (including recovering and identifying charcoal and/or burned annual remains from each of the samples prior to selecting the best item to date), as well as analyzing 500 duplicate samples collected at the same locations for environmental and subsistence related evidence using starch, phytolith, and macrobotanical analyses.

Integration of identification of charcoal with macrofloral, phytolith, and starch analysis provides a more complete picture of the availability of resources on the landscape, use of those resources, and use of these features, particularly when these data sets are compared with the radiocarbon data set. Integration of these data sets is very important to the success of this project. Visualizing the data is facilitated by plotting selected resources utilizing GIS.

Understanding the distribution of dates on annuals and those on charcoal is critical to understanding the expression of single vs. multiple occupations. Dates on charcoal usually reflect times early in the growth cycle of the trees and shrubs represented and, thus, may be "too early" by many decades to a few hundred years. Discrimination between single and multiple occupations is very difficult if there is no record of what was dated. Since understanding the distribution of people on the landscape is one of the goals of this study, it is critical to evaluate the radiocarbon dates for their ability to date the activity represented by these features, and not simply to obtain dates that probably represent the early portion of the life of the tree or shrub that was ultimately (several decades to more than a century later) used as fuel in a thermal feature.

Cite this Record

Macrofloral, Phytolith, and Starch Analysis, and AMS Radiocarbon Dating for the Permian Basin MOA, New Mexico. Linda Scott Cummings, Peter Kováčik, R.A. Varney, Kathryn Puseman, Jammi L. Ladwig. 2013 ( tDAR id: 391881) ; doi:10.6067/XCV83J3F9W

This Resource is Part of the Following Collections

Spatial Coverage

min long: -104.457; min lat: 32.207 ; max long: -103.964; max lat: 32.54 ;

Individual & Institutional Roles

Contact(s): Martin Stein

Contributor(s): Lone Mountain Archaeological Services, Inc.

Prepared By(s): PaleoResearch Institute

Submitted To(s): Bureau of Land Management Carlsbad Field Office

Record Identifiers

Task Order(s): L13PD00356

BLM Contract(s): L08PC90394

File Information

  Name Size Creation Date Date Uploaded Access
TO-10-PBMOA-Sample-Analysis-Report.pdf 9.15mb Jan 8, 2014 11:08:42 AM Confidential

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Contact(s): Martin Stein