Geochronology of the Tse-whit-zen Project

Author(s): Ian Hutchinson; Sarah Sterling; Jennie Shaw

Year: 2015


The use of high precision dates provides a chronological framework for reconstructing environmental conditions at the Tse-whit-zen site (45CA523) in Washington state. The geochronology of the site in is derived from high-precision radiocarbon dates taken from finely excavated deposits, with ages spanning the time period from ca. 2000 BP to contact. We have added 36 high precision AMS dates from short lived organic material, recovered from intact contexts, to the 52 original dates reported in 2006. Combined, these data allow development of the temporal sequence of beach building events in the sand deposits underlying the site, as well as the sequence of cultural deposits of long and short duration over the course of the site’s occupation. Higher and lower frequencies of C14 ages over time serve as proxy means for estimating relative changes in population during the site’s occupation; these changes in population are partially driven by environmental conditions. Bayesian analysis of vertical sequences of dates reveal periods of diminished site activity that correspond to known regional seismic events. The sequence of beach building also reveals a period of lowered seas relative to land level after ca 2000 BP, typical of generally drier climatic conditions.

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Cite this Record

Geochronology of the Tse-whit-zen Project. Sarah Sterling, Ian Hutchinson, Jennie Shaw. Presented at The 80th Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, San Francisco, California. 2015 ( tDAR id: 395347)

Spatial Coverage

min long: -169.717; min lat: 42.553 ; max long: -122.607; max lat: 71.301 ;