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AMS Radiocarbon Dating of the Type Plainview and Firstview (Paleoindian) Assemblages: The Agony and the Ecstasy

  • Vance T. Holliday (a1), Eileen Johnson (a2) and Thomas W. Stafford (a3)


Plainview and Firstview are two of the principal post-Folsom Paleoindian artifact assemblages on the Great Plains, but good radiometric age control for these artifact styles is relatively poor, due in part to lack of reliable age control on the type collections. This study reports the results of AMS-radiocarbon dating of specific amino acids from Bison antiquus bone associated with the type Plainview and Firstview assemblages from the Plainview and Olsen-Chubbuck sites, respectively. Seven samples of bone and teeth from Plainview produced a surprisingly wide array of ages. As a result, the age of the bone bed and the type Plainview collection remain uncertain, but it is most likely ≥ 10,000 B.P. (but late or post-Folsom) given the dating and stratigraphic relationships at Plainview and other sites. Seven samples of bone from Olsen-Chubbuck yielded a tight cluster of ages averaging ca 9400 B.P., fitting well with other dated Firstview features on the Southern Plains. These results show that much better age control from more sites is needed in order to understand the Paleoindian record. AMS-radiocarbon dating of specific amino acids from bone has revolutionized such issues of chronology in archaeology, but like any other method, it can provide confusing results and must be used in conjunction with other chronometric data.


Plainview y Firstview son dos de los principales ensamblages de artefactos Paleoindios post-Folsom en las Grandes Llanuras de Norte America, pero el control radiometrico de la edad de los estilos de estos artefactos es relativamente pobre, debido en parte a lafaltade un control confiable de edad de las colecciones tipo. Elpresente estudio reporta los resultados del fechado por AMS (Espectometria Aceleradora de Masa)—radiocarbono de ciertos amino acidos en los huesos de Bison antiquus asociados con ensamblages de tipos Plainview y Firstview de los sitios Plainview y Olsen-Chubbuck, respectivamente. Siete muestras de huesos y dientes provenientes de Plainview dieron una gama sorprendentemente amplia de edades. Como resultado, la edad exacta del lecho de huesos y de la coleccion tipo Plainview continua siendo incierta, aunque muy probablemente sea ≥ 10,000 A.P. (Pero tardia o post-Folsom) dadas las relaciones entre fechado y estratigrafia en Plainview y otros sitios. Siete muestras de huesoprovenientes de Olsen-Chubbuckprodujeron un grupo compacto de edadespromediando approx. 9,400 A.P., lo cual se ajusta bien con otros yacimientos Firstview yafechados en el sur de las Grandes Llanuras. Estos resultados muestran la necesidad de contar con un mejor control de edad para otros sitios a fin de apreciar el registro Paleoindio. El fechado por AMS-radiocarbono de amino acidos especificos de huesos ha revolucionado areas tales como la cronologia en arqueologia, mas como cualquier otro metodo, es suceptible de proveer resultados confusos y debe ser utilizado en conjunto con informacion cronometrica adicional.



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