A Bayesian Approach to the Paleoindian Colonization of the Northeastern US


Research on the Paleoindian colonization of the northeastern US suffers from numerous chronological problems. These problems are exacerbated by the use of summed probability distributions, which do not take into account the unique sampling issues and specific probability distributions of individual dates and their particular relationships to archaeological contexts. This paper introduces a Bayesian statistical approach to clarify some of these problems and raise new questions about early population dynamics. Bayesian approaches facilitate the critical appraisal of individual dates with other prior knowledge such as stratigraphy, typology/technology, etc. Using these approaches, combined with prior knowledge of lithic raw material procurement, we propose that the first archaeological visible populations in the Northeast do not represent a colonization pulse, but a population already embedded on the landscape. Bayesian modeling of early radiocarbon dates suggest the most probable period of entry occurred during the late Allerød, with population expansion during the Younger Dryas leading these populations to become archaeologically visible for the first time. We also propose that various early fluted point types in the region overlap in time and represent similar adaptive strategies suited to the exploitation of Caribou. Paleoenvironmental data from the region will be assessed to explore this hypothesis.

Cite this Record

A Bayesian Approach to the Paleoindian Colonization of the Northeastern US. Nathaniel Kitchel, Bryan Shuman, Joseph Gingerich, Erick Robinson. Presented at The 81st Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Orlando, Florida. 2016 ( tDAR id: 403416)


Spatial Coverage

min long: -80.815; min lat: 39.3 ; max long: -66.753; max lat: 47.398 ;