Locating Events in Process: A Multiscalar Examination of Early Pottery in the Southeastern U.S. Using Bayesian Statistics

Author(s): Asa Randall; Zackary Gilmore; Kenneth Sassaman

Year: 2015


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 cultural impacts or a regionwide "container revolution" that set Archaic hunter-gatherers on an inevitable pathway toward farming, sedentism, and social complexity. In this paper, Bayesian statistics are applied to scores of radiocarbon assays associated with early fiber-tempered wares in South Carolina, Georgia, and Florida. The results are used to examine the adoption and spread of pottery technology at multiple spatial scales, ranging from the subcontinental to the local. Particular focus is directed toward two large, well-dated sites—Stallings Island and Silver Glen—that exemplify the diverse, context-specific manner in which pottery was incorporated into existing traditions and interactions. More generally, these examples help illustrate the complex and often contradictory relationships that exist between localized events and the larger historical processes in which they are implicated.

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Cite this Record

Locating Events in Process: A Multiscalar Examination of Early Pottery in the Southeastern U.S. Using Bayesian Statistics. Zackary Gilmore, Asa Randall, Kenneth Sassaman. Presented at The 80th Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, San Francisco, California. 2015 ( tDAR id: 394884)


Spatial Coverage

min long: -91.274; min lat: 24.847 ; max long: -72.642; max lat: 36.386 ;