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Maize played a major role in Chaco's interaction with outlying communities in the southern Colorado Plateau. This paper seeks to determine where archaeological corn cobs brought to Chaco Canyon were grown. Strontium-isotope and trace-metal ratios of 180 soil-water and 18 surface-water sites in the Southern Colorado Plateau have revealed possible source areas for some of 37 archaeological corn cobs from Chaco Canyon and 10 archaeological corn cobs from Aztec Ruin, New Mexico. The most probable source areas for cobs that predate the middle-12th-century drought include several Upper Rio Chaco sites (not including Chaco Canyon). There are many potential source areas for cobs that date to the late A.D. 1100s and early...
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Strontium isotope values (87Sr/86Sr) in bone and tooth enamel have been used increasingly to identify non-local individuals within prehistoric human populations worldwide. Archaeological research in the Midwestern United States has increasingly highlighted the role of population movement in affecting interregional cultural change. However, the comparatively low level of geologic variation in the Midwestern United States might suggest a corresponding low level of strontium variation, and calls into question the sensitivity of strontium isotopes to identify non-local individuals in this region. Using strontium isotopes of archaeological fauna, we explore the degree of variability in strontium ratios across this region....
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The Sima de los Huesos site of the Atapuerca complex near Burgos, Spain contains the skeletal remains of at least 28 individuals in a mud-breccia underlying an accumulation of the Middle Pleistocene cave bear (Ursus deningeri). We report here on new high-precision dates on the recently discovered speleothem SRA-3 overlaying human bones within the Sima de los Huesos. Earlier analyses of this speleothem by TIMS (thermal-ionization mass-spectrometry) showed the lower part to be indistinguishable from internal isotopic equilibrium at the precision of the TIMS instrumentation used, yielding minimum age of 350 kyr (kyr = 103 yr before present). Reanalysis of six samples of SRA-3 by inductively-coupled plasma-multicollector...
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In the beginning of the 1980s, the Caune de l'Arago was the focus of an interdisciplinary effort to establish the chronology of the Homo heidelbergensis (Preneandertals) fossils using a variety of techniques on bones and on speleothems. The result was a very large spread of dates particularly on bone samples. Amid the large spread of results, some radiometric data on speleothems showed a convergence in agreement with inferences from faunal studies. We present new U-series results on the stalagmitic formation located at the bottom of Unit IV (at the base of the Upper Stratigraphic Complex). Samples and splits were collaboratively analyzed in the four different laboratories with excellent interlaboratory agreement....
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At least 200 000 trees were used in the building construction in Chaco Canyon, New Mexico, from about (AD) 850-1150. A large portion of these construction timbers were transported 50 km or more and the harvesting location(s) is not known. We argue that a feasible method for determining the wood source areas is to chemically characterize the possible source areas using modern wood and then attempt to match the prehistoric timbers to the modern signatures. This paper establishes the feasibility of this method. ICP-AES was employed to obtain element concentration values for 29 elements, from 62 trees, on three bedrock types. We conclude that it is possible to isolate the variation due to lithology if one controls for...
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Previous analysis of 87Sr/86Sr ratios shows that 10th through 12th century Chaco Canyon was provisioned with plant materials that came from more than 75 km away. This includes (1) corn (Zea mays) grown on the eastern flanks of the Chuska Mountains and floodplain of the San Juan River to the west and north, and (2) spruce (Picea sp.) and fir (Abies sp.) beams from the crest of the Chuska and San Mateo Mountains to the west and south. Here, we extend 87Sr/86Sr analysis to ponderosa pine (Pinus ponderosa) prevalent in the architectural timber at three of the Chacoan great houses (Pueblo Bonito, Chetro Ketl, Pueblo del Arroyo). Like the architectural spruce and fir, much of the ponderosa matches the 87Sr/86Sr ratios...
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Three fragments of charcoal taken from different parts of the lowermost bed containing Aurignacian artifacts at El Castillo Cave yielded AMS dates of 37??7 (?? 1??8) ka bp, 38??5 (?? 1??8) ka bp, and 40??0 (?? 2??1) ka bp (average 38??7 ?? 1??9 ka bp). These dates are almost identical to new AMS dates from l'Arbreda cave in Catalunya on the same cultural horizon (average 38??5 ?? 1??0 ka bp) and are significantly older than the earliest dates for Aurignacian industries in the Aquitaine and in other parts of Central and Western Europe. ?? 1989.
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The surface of the floodplain of the Ohio River about 20km southwest of Louisville, Kentucky, is a series of linear ridges and swales that are subparallel to the channel of the river, which here is relatively straight and flows southward. Numerous prehistoric occupational sites are located on these ridges. The sediments that underlie the ridges, which were examined in four archaeological excavations as deep as 8 m, are predominantly sandy silt and silty fine to very fine sand and appear to be mainly the product of overbank deposition from suspended load. Abundant cultural material and occupational sites dating as early as 10,000 years BP are found in the sediments at depths as great as 6??5 m. The fine sediments...
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A massive flowstone layer, Level 23, near the base of the stratigraphic sequence in El Castillo Cave (Cantabria, Spain), is dated by the uranium-series isochron method to 89+11/-10 ka bp. The flowstone separates cultural layers traditionally labelled "Mousterian" (above) and "Acheulean" (below). The date reported here, in association with other recent age determinations for "Mousterian" and "Acheulean" artifact assemblages in Western Europe, calls into question the temporal significance of these archaeological designations. In addition, it further underlies the importance of the Castillo cultural sequence and allows tentative discussion of changing rates of sedimentation in the vestibule of the cave, where some...
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New U-Series and C14 (AMS) dates are provided for the Abric Agut (Capellades, Barcelona, Spain). This site was previously considered to be of Middle Palaeolithic age according to the characteristics of the lithic assemblage. In addition, human teeth were uncovered and attributed to neandertals. However, radiometric dating clearly indicates a Late Pleistocene-Early Holocene age. ?? 2002 Elsevier Science Ltd. All rights reserved.
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Previous analysis of 87Sr/86Sr ratios shows that 10th through 12th century Chaco Canyon was provisioned with plant materials that came from more than 75 km away. This includes (1) corn (Zea mays) grown on the eastern flanks of the Chuska Mountains and floodplain of the San Juan River to the west and north, and (2) spruce (Picea sp.) and fir (Abies sp.) beams from the crest of the Chuska and San Mateo Mountains to the west and south. Here, we extend 87Sr/86Sr analysis to ponderosa pine (Pinus ponderosa) prevalent in the architectural timber at three of the Chacoan great houses (Pueblo Bonito, Chetro Ketl, Pueblo del Arroyo). Like the architectural spruce and fir, much of the ponderosa matches the 87Sr/86Sr ratios...
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Between A.D. 1181 and 1200, in the early part of a climatically wet period, corn was imported to Chaco Canyon from a region outside the Chaco Halo (defined in this paper as the region between the base of the Chuska Mountains and Raton Wells). Strontium-isotope (87Sr/86Sr) analyses of 12 corn cobs dating to this period match 87Sr/86Sr ratios from five potential source areas, including: the Zuni region, the Mesa Verde-McElmo Dome area, the Totah, the Defiance Plateau, and Lobo Mesa. The latter two areas were eliminated from consideration as possible sources of corn in that they appear to have been unpopulated during the time period of interest. Therefore, it appears that the corn cobs were imported from the Zuni region,...
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The structure at Mesa Verde National Park known historically as Mummy Lake and more recently as Far View Reservoir is not part of a water collection, impoundment, or redistribution system. We offer an alternative explanation for the function of Mummy Lake. We suggest that it is an unroofed ceremonial structure, and that it serves as an essential component of a Chacoan ritual landscape. A wide constructed avenue articulates Mummy Lake with Far View House and Pipe Shrine House. The avenue continues southward for approximately 6 km where it apparently divides connecting with Spruce Tree House and Sun Temple/Cliff Palace. The avenue has previously been interpreted as an irrigation ditch fed by water impounded at Mummy...
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Isotope and trace-metal analyses were used to determine the origin of plants used to manufacture prehistoric textiles (basketry and matting) from archaeological sites in the western Great Basin. Research focused on strontium (87Sr/86Sr) and oxygen (18O/16O) isotope ratios of willow (Salix sp.) and tule (Schoenoplectus sp.), the dominant raw materials in Great Basin textiles. The oxygen-isotope data indicated that the willow and tule used to produce the textiles were harvested from the banks of rivers or in marshes characterized by flowing water and not from lakes or sinks. The strontium-isotope data were useful in showing which plants came from the Humboldt River and which came from rivers headed in the Sierra Nevada.
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In this paper, we present a model of prehistoric southwestern Colorado maize productivity. The model is based on a tree-ring reconstruction of water-year precipitation for Mesa Verde for the period A.D. 480 to 2011. Correlation of historic Mesa Verde precipitation with historic precipitation at 11 other weather stations enabled the construction of an elevation-dependent precipitation function. Prehistoric water-year precipitation values for Mesa Verde together with the elevation-dependent precipitation function allowed construction of the elevation of southwest Colorado precipitation contours for each year since A.D. 480, including the 30-cm contour, which represents the minimum amount of precipitation necessary...
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Accurate trace-metal and strontium-isotope analyses of archaeological corn cobs require that metal contaminants be removed prior to chemical analysis. Archaeological cobs are often coated with construction debris, dust, or soil which contains mineral particles. In addition, most archaeological cobs are partially or completely burned and the burned parts incorporate mineral debris in their hardened residual structures. Unburned cobs are weak ion exchangers and most metals within a cob are not firmly bound to cob organic matter; therefore, immersing cobs in acids and rinsing them in deionized water to remove mineral contaminants may result in the undesirable loss of metals, including strontium, from the cob.In this...
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In the beginning of the 1980s, the Caune de l'Arago was the focus of an interdisciplinary effort to establish the chronology of the Homo heidelbergensis (Preneandertals) fossils using a variety of techniques on bones and on speleothems. The result was a very large spread of dates particularly on bone samples. Amid the large spread of results, some radiometric data on speleothems showed a convergence in agreement with inferences from faunal studies. We present new U-series results on the stalagmitic formation located at the bottom of Unit IV (at the base of the Upper Stratigraphic Complex). Samples and splits were collaboratively analyzed in the four different laboratories with excellent interlaboratory agreement....
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Survey along the margins of the Helan Mountains in the Ningxia Hui and Nei Mongol Autonomous Regions discloses variability in the distribution and assemblage composition among 47 archaeological localities, and suggests a reduction in hunter-gatherer residential mobility through time. Late Palaeolithic tool assemblages are less frequent, smaller, and relatively uniform from site to site. They tend to be found near canyon mouths on the mountain front, or around springs in the middle to upper reaches of fans, suggesting limited variation in both length of stay and subsistence strategies. In contrast, early Neolithic sites, more abundant and variable in size and complexity, are located near fan toes or lower fan springs...
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The Sima de los Huesos site of the Atapuerca complex near Burgos, Spain contains the skeletal remains of at least 28 individuals in a mud breccia underlying an accumulation of the Middle Pleistocene cave bear (U. deningeri). Earlier dating estimates of 200 to 320 kyr were based on U-series and ESR methods applied to bones, made inaccurate by unquantifiable uranium cycling. We report here on a new discovery within the Sima de los Huesos of human bones stratigraphically underlying an in situ speleothem. U-series analyses of the speleothem shows the lower part to be at isotopic U/Th equilibrium, translating to a firm lower limit of 350 kyr for the SH hominids. Finite dates on the upper part suggest a speleothem growth...
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We report results of U-series analyses of the travertine matrix surrounding the Banyolas mandible that indicate an age of 45??4 ka bp. The mandible, an archaic hominid fossil generally deemed of mid-Pleistocene age, was recovered from a travertine matrix in 1887. Similar analyses on 21 travertine samples from quarries near the discovery site yield coherent U-series dates in correct stratigraphic order, ranging from 44 ka bp to 117 ka bp. Isotopic composition of these samples and the mandible matrix show no evidence of open system behaviour. Coherent isotopic results from adjacent quarries support the validity of the date on the mandible travertine, and we conclude the mandible is much younger than previously believed....