The Paleoindian-Archaic Transition in the Western United States: A Bayesian Approach

Author(s): Erick Robinson; Robert L. Kelly

Year: 2017


Summed probability distributions of large radiocarbon datasets provide a powerful method for investigating prehistoric population change at multi-centennial and millennial scales of analysis. However, summed probability distributions cannot account for statistical scatter and uncertainties accompanying individual calibrated radiocarbon dates, which means that they are ineffective for answering questions related to cultural persistence and change on shorter centennial scales. For these shorter time scales we turn to Bayesian statistical analysis for its ability to develop probabilistic models that explicitly incorporate statistical uncertainties in the analysis and enable robust estimates for the start, end, and transition dates of prehistoric cultures. We propose a working relationship between summed probability approaches and Bayesian modeling by using the latter approach to test hypotheses developed by the former approach, using a comprehensive radiocarbon database for the Paleoindian and Archaic periods in the Western US.

Cite this Record

The Paleoindian-Archaic Transition in the Western United States: A Bayesian Approach. Erick Robinson, Robert L. Kelly. Presented at The 81st Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Vancouver, British Columbia. 2017 ( tDAR id: 430512)


Spatial Coverage

min long: -122.168; min lat: 42.131 ; max long: -113.028; max lat: 49.383 ;

Record Identifiers

Abstract Id(s): 14624