Beyond Radiocarbon: Using AMS Samples to Assess Woody Plant Use at Tse-whit-zen

Author(s): Jennie Shaw

Year: 2017


Paleoethnobotany, while not a nascent field, is still an underutilized research framework in Pacific Northwest (PNW) archaeology. But increasingly, PNW projects have incorporated macrobotanical analyses as a precursor to radiocarbon dating. Analysts provide taxonomic identifications of woody fuel remains and assist in selecting fragments from short-lived genera that will mitigate the old wood effect, thereby increasing the accuracy of dates. This paper assesses the utility of an anthracological study of over 400 charred wood fragments from the Tse-whit-zen site, a large coastal village in northwest Washington State. At least 15 genera of trees and shrubs were burned at Tse-whit-zen, including plants traditionally harvested for foods, fuels, medicines, and tools. Radiocarbon "pre-analyses" such as this one offer a convenient opportunity to access botanical knowledge at a smaller scale than grand paleoethnobotanical research initiatives and, with appropriate caveats, can contribute to the greater understanding of local fuel selection, household activities, and plant management practices.

Cite this Record

Beyond Radiocarbon: Using AMS Samples to Assess Woody Plant Use at Tse-whit-zen. Jennie Shaw. Presented at The 81st Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Vancouver, British Columbia. 2017 ( tDAR id: 430197)


Spatial Coverage

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

Record Identifiers

Abstract Id(s): 14714