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Cation-Ratio Dating and Archaeological Research Design: Response to Harry

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  20 January 2017


Douglas B. Bamforth
Affiliation:
Anthropology Department, Campus Box 233, University of Colorado, Boulder, CO 80309-0233

Abstract

Harry's recent paper in this journal critiques the use of cation-ratio dating to assess the age of surface-collected artifacts as part of a rejection of this dating technique in general. However, Harry's negative conclusions are difficult to reconcile both with the seemingly successful application of cation-ratio dating as part of the Intermountain Power Project (IPP) in California, the only other project in which surface artifacts have been cation-ratio dated, as well as with Harry's own data. The present comment details substantial differences in (1) the rigor and sophistication of the research designs applied by Harry and the IPP research and (2) the integrity of the sites on which these two projects worked, and points out important components of Harry's data that are inconsistent with her conclusions. Cation-ratio dating is certainly not yet perfected as a dating technique, but the available data indicate clearly that Harry's critique is seriously flawed.


En un reciente artícule, Harry critica el uso de la técnica de datación por radios de catión para calcular la edad de artefactos recolectados en la superficie como parte de un rechazo general de esta técnica de datación. Sin embargo, las conclusiones negativas de Harry son dificiles de reconciliar con el éxito aparente de esta técnica en el Proyecto Intermountain Power (IPP) en California—el ünico projecto que ha usado radios de cation para datar colecciones de superficie aparte de los datos de Harry. El présente comentario detalla diferencias sustanciales entre (1) el rigor y sofisticación del diseño de investigación aplicado por Harry y aquél de IPP y (2) la integridad de los sitios investigados en ambos proyectos, y señala importantes componentes de los datos de Harry que no son consistentes con sus conclusiones. Ciertamente, la técnica de radios de cation no esta perfeccionada, pero los datos obtenidos indican claramente que la critica de Harry está equivocada.


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Copyright
Copyright © Society for American Archaeology 1997

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References

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