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A radiocarbon test for significant demographic events in written and oral history.

Author(s): Thomas Brown ; Kevan Edinborough ; Andrew Martindale ; Kenneth Ames

Year: 2017

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We present the results of a simulation based test for the existence and significance of two known demographic event horizons. We extend the Shennan et al. (2013) summed probability distribution frequency method to provide a value of statistical significance for the period between two defined calendar dates. Case-study one extrapolates population data from the Western historical record relating to the catastrophic European Black Death and finds a consistent statistically significant drop in population. Case-study two uses a regionally scaled database of radiocarbon dates to test for a gap in settlement recorded in the oral historical traditions of descendant Tsimshian First Nation communities from the modern Prince Rupert Harbour region of Pacific Northwest British Columbia, Canada. Strong support for this "gap hypothesis" is found.

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A radiocarbon test for significant demographic events in written and oral history.. Thomas Brown, Kevan Edinborough, Andrew Martindale, Kenneth Ames. Presented at The 81st Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Vancouver, British Columbia. 2017 ( tDAR id: 430224)


Spatial Coverage

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

Record Identifiers

Abstract Id(s): 16357

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