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Points in Time: Direct Radiocarbon Dates on Great Basin Projectile Points

  • Geoffrey M. Smith (a1), Pat Barker (a2), Eugene M. Hattori (a2), Anan Raymond (a3) and Ted Goebel (a4)...

Abstract

Typological cross-dating is the primary means by which archaeological sites are placed into chronological frameworks. This approach relies on the assumption that artifacts at undated sites—usually projectile points—are coeval with similar artifacts found at Other, dated sites. While typological cross-dating is necessary in regions dominated by open-air lithic scatters, the approach can be problematic when undated and dated sites are separated by significant distances. Here, we present radiocarbon dates on projectile points with organic hafting material still attached or found within organic storage bags. Our results provide unequivocal ages for various morphological projectile point types at several Great Basin locales and should be useful to researchers seeking local age estimates for those point types, which often involves relying on chronological data from more distant sites. The results also highlight potential issues with uncritically applying typological cross-dating using typologies based on metric attributes, and in two cases, suggest the need to revise the age ranges for certain point styles in the western Great Basin.

Resumen

Fechado por comparación tipológica es el medio primario a través del cual sitios arqueológicos son ubicados en marcos eronológicos. Esta aproximación asume que los artefactos de un sitio no fechado—generalmente puntas de proyectil—son contemporáneas con artefactos similares encontrados en otros sitios ya fechados. Aunque esta metodología es necesaria es regiones dominadas por dispersiones líticas al aire libre, esta aproximación puede resultar problemática cuando aquellos sitios que han sido fechados y aquellos que no se encuentran a grandes distancias. Aquí presentamos fechados radiocarbónicos en puntas de proyectil con residuos de enmangamiento orgánico o las bolsas en las que se hallaron. Nuestros resultados proveen fechas inequívocas para varios tipos morfológicos de puntas de proyectil en varias localidades de la Gran Cuenca y deberían ser útiles para los investigadores que buscan edades estimadas para dichos tipos, lo cual a veces involucra depender en datos cronológicos de sitios más lejanos. Los resultados también resaltan potenciales problemas con la aplicación acritica del fechado por comparación usando tipologías basadas en atributos métricos y, en dos casos, sugiere la necesidad de revisas los rangos de fechas para ciertos estilos de puntas en el oeste de la Gran Cuenca.

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References

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Points in Time: Direct Radiocarbon Dates on Great Basin Projectile Points

  • Geoffrey M. Smith (a1), Pat Barker (a2), Eugene M. Hattori (a2), Anan Raymond (a3) and Ted Goebel (a4)...

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