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Contact-Era Chronology Building in Iroquoia: Age Estimates for Arendarhonon Sites and Implications for Identifying Champlain's Cahiagué

  • Sturt W. Manning (a1), Jennifer Birch (a2), Megan Anne Conger (a2), Michael W. Dee (a3), Carol Griggs (a4) and Carla S. Hadden (a5)...

Abstract

Radiocarbon dating is rarely used in historical or contact-era North American archaeology because of idiosyncrasies of the calibration curve that result in ambiguous calendar dates for this period. We explore the potential and requirements for radiocarbon dating and Bayesian analysis to create a time frame for early contact-era sites in northeast North America independent of the assumptions and approximations involved in temporal constructs based on trade goods and other archaeological correlates. To illustrate, we use Bayesian chronological modeling to analyze radiocarbon dates on short-lived samples and a post from four Huron-Wendat Arendarhonon sites (Benson, Sopher, Ball, and Warminster) to establish an independent chronology. We find that Warminster was likely occupied in 1615–1616, and so is the most likely candidate for the site of Cahiagué visited by Samuel de Champlain in 1615–1616, versus the other main suggested alternative, Ball, which dates earlier, as do the Sopher and Benson sites. In fact, the Benson site seems likely to date ~50 years earlier than currently thought. We present the methods employed to arrive at these new, independent age estimates and argue that absolute redating of historic-era sites is necessary to accurately assess existing interpretations based on relative dating and associated regional narratives.

La datation par le radiocarbone est rarement utilisée dans l'archéologie de l'Amérique du Nord, historique ou de l’époque des contacts, en raison des particularités de la courbe de calibration qui donnent lieu aux dates ambiguës pour le calendrier. Nous explorons le potentiel et les exigences pour les datations radiocarbone et d'analyses Bayésienne afin de créer un calendrier pour les sites de début de la période contact dans le nord-est de l'Amérique du Nord séparent des hypothèses et approximations impliquées dans les constructions temporelles basées sur les marchandises commerciales et d'autres corrélats archéologiques. Comme démonstration, nous utilisons la modélisation chronologique Bayésienne pour analyser les dates par le radiocarbone sur des échantillons éphémères et un poteau de quatre sites Huron-Wendat Arendarhonon (Benson, Sopher, Ball et Warminster) afin d’établir une chronologie indépendante. Nous trouvons que Warminster était probablement occupé pendant 1615–1616, ce qui en fait le candidat le plus probable pour le site de Cahiagué visité par Samuel de Champlain en 1615–1616, par rapport à l'autre alternative principale suggérée, Ball, qui est plus ancien, comme les sites Sopher et Benson. En fait, le site Benson semble dater d'environ cinquante ans (~50) plus tôt que prévu. Nous présentons les méthodes employées pour arriver à ces nouvelles estimations d’âge indépendant et affirmons qu'une re-datation absolue des sites de l'époque historique est nécessaire pour évaluer avec précision les interprétations existantes basées sur la datation relative et les récits régionaux associés.

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Copyright

This is an Open Access article, distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution licence (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted re-use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Corresponding author

(sm456@cornell.edu, corresponding author)

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Contact-Era Chronology Building in Iroquoia: Age Estimates for Arendarhonon Sites and Implications for Identifying Champlain's Cahiagué

  • Sturt W. Manning (a1), Jennifer Birch (a2), Megan Anne Conger (a2), Michael W. Dee (a3), Carol Griggs (a4) and Carla S. Hadden (a5)...

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