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GROWTH OF A VILLAGE: USING FLUORIDE ANALYSIS AND ARTIFACT FREQUENCIES TO EXAMINE EARLY FORT ANCIENT/MISSISSIPPIAN HOUSEHOLD AND SITE FORMATION

  • Robert A. Cook (a1) and Mark R. Schurr (a2)

Abstract

Examining the formation histories of single-component prehistoric villages is difficult using only radiocarbon dating. This study investigates such a case with the added considerations of two relative dating techniques, artifact accumulation and fluoride dating, at the Guard site (12D29), an early (ca. AD 1000–1300) Fort Ancient/Mississippian village located in southeast Indiana. The goal was to assess the depositional history of the individual house basins and, if possible, to determine a relative sequence of construction within the village. The observed relationship between relative artifact frequencies and fluoride levels was statistically examined with the expected result being that fluoride concentrations and artifact frequencies are significantly correlated. Houses built initially contained lower relative artifact frequencies, whereas houses built more recently contained higher relative artifact frequencies. This pattern is further explored with artifact and fluoride distinctions in vertical stratigraphy, which show that some structures were slowly filled with midden trash, whereas others were more likely rapidly filled during the latter part of the village occupation, perhaps at the time of site abandonment. Overall, the results are very promising and consistent with the SunWatch site, the only other Fort Ancient culture site with a defined construction sequence, establishing a general pattern of village development in the study region.

Es difícil investigar las historias de formación de las aldeas prehistóricas con una sola ocupación basándose únicamente en fechas de radiocarbono. En este estudio se investiga una de tales aldeas utilizando dos técnicas de fechamiento relativo: la acumulación de artefactos y el fechamiento a base de fluoruro. El caso de estudio es el sitio de Guard (12D29), una aldea temprana (ca. 1000–1300 dC.) de la cultura Fort Ancient/Misisipiana ubicada en el sureste del estado de Indiana. El objetivo del estudio fue evaluar la historia deposicional de las fosas individuales de cada casa para determinar si es posible documentar una secuencia relativa de construcción para la aldea. Pruebas estadísticas de la relación observada entre las densidades de artefactos y los niveles de fluoruro indican que estos están correlacionadas, lo cual fue el resultado esperado. Las casas construidas al inicio de la ocupación del sitio tienen densidades de artefactos comparativamente bajas, mientras que las casas construidas más recientemente tienen densidades de artefactos comparativamente altas. Este patrón aparentemente contradictorio se explica por las distinciones entre artefactos y fluoruro en la estratigrafía vertical. Estas muestran que algunas estructuras fueron rellenadas paulatinamente con desechos, mientras que otras casas probablemente fueron rellenadas de manera comparativamente rápida durante los años finales de la ocupación del sitio. En general, los resultados son muy prometedores y consistentes con los datos procedentes del sitio de SunWatch. Este último es el único otro sitio de la cultura Fort Ancient que tiene una secuencia constructiva definida, lo que establece un patrón general del desarrollo para las aldeas de la región.

Copyright

Corresponding author

(Robertcook526@gmail.com, corresponding author)

References

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