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High-Precision Chronology Building at Coastal Sites on California’s Channel Islands

Author(s): Chistopher S. Jazwa ; Douglas J. Kennett ; Lynn Gamble

Year: 2013

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Summary

Using accelerator mass spectrometry (AMS) techniques and chronology building calibration software that incorporates Bayesian statistics, it is possible to establish high-precision chronologies for complex sites. This includes shell midden sites, which are common along coastlines in the United States and often contain multiple distinct strata. We present the example of SCRI-333, on the western end of Santa Cruz Island, California. At this site, we selected carbonized twig and marine shell (Mytilus californianus) samples from well-defined stratigraphic levels of two house depressions. Analytical error for these measurements is +/- 20 14C years. Using calibration software that incorporates Bayesian statistics, we have greatly improved the chronology of this site. This site contains more than fifty house depressions and provides some of the earliest evidence for house construction on California’s Channel Islands, dating between 3250 and 2500 BP. We also discuss other examples of coastal sites and the potential applications of this technique.


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High-Precision Chronology Building at Coastal Sites on California’s Channel Islands. Chistopher S. Jazwa, Douglas J. Kennett, Lynn Gamble. Presented at Society for Historical Archaeology, Leicester, England, U.K. 2013 ( tDAR id: 428366)


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Spatial Coverage

min long: -129.199; min lat: 24.495 ; max long: -66.973; max lat: 49.359 ;

Record Identifiers

PaperId(s): 524

Arizona State University The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation National Science Foundation National Endowment for the Humanities Society for American Archaeology Archaeological Institute of America