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. 2018 Dec 5;4(12):eaav0280.
doi: 10.1126/sciadv.aav0280. eCollection 2018 Dec.

Radiocarbon Re-Dating of Contact-Era Iroquoian History in Northeastern North America

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Free PMC article

Radiocarbon Re-Dating of Contact-Era Iroquoian History in Northeastern North America

Sturt W Manning et al. Sci Adv. .
Free PMC article

Abstract

A time frame for late Iroquoian prehistory is firmly established on the basis of the presence/absence of European trade goods and other archeological indicators. However, independent dating evidence is lacking. We use 86 radiocarbon measurements to test and (re)define existing chronological understanding. Warminster, often associated with Cahiagué visited by S. de Champlain in 1615-1616 CE, yields a compatible radiocarbon-based age. However, a well-known late prehistoric site sequence in southern Ontario, Draper-Spang-Mantle, usually dated ~1450-1550, yields much later radiocarbon-based dates of ~1530-1615. The revised time frame dramatically rewrites 16th-century contact-era history in this region. Key processes of violent conflict, community coalescence, and the introduction of European goods all happened much later and more rapidly than previously assumed. Our results suggest the need to reconsider current understandings of contact-era dynamics across northeastern North America.

Figures

Fig. 1
Fig. 1. Map showing the locations of the four sites investigated in this study in southern Ontario, Canada.
Fig. 2
Fig. 2. 14C-derived chronology for the Warminster site.
(A) The OxCal (32, 35) dating model for the Warminster site Phase with TPQ from a tree ring–sequenced 14C wiggle match on a wood post (36) and then the 14C dates on short-lived plant material, using the IntCal13 14C dataset (34), with the dates on the same plum and bean samples combined (table S5A). The nonmodeled calibrated dating probabilities are indicated by the gray distributions; the modeled probabilities are shown by the black distributions. The lines under the modeled distributions indicate the 68.2% highest posterior density (hpd) and 95.4% hpd ranges. OxCal agreement indices (A, Amodel, and Aoverall) >60 indicate good agreement between the 14C data and the model. O values are posterior/prior probabilities that the date is an outlier. (B) The modeled Date estimate for the Warminster site from (A). (C) Date estimate from an alternative model treating each date on the plum and bean samples as independent estimates within independent “plum” and “bean” sub-Phases (table S5B). No outliers, but one low agreement date (A:5 = UGAMS-25451). (D) As (C) but excluding UGAMS-25451. Amodel and Aoverall values are now >60. The dates of Champlain’s visit to Cahiagué, 1615–1616, are indicated in each panel.
Fig. 3
Fig. 3. The 14C-derived chronology for the Draper, Spang, and Mantle sites with each site modeled as an independent phase.
(A) The OxCal (32, 35) model for each of the three site Phases (Draper, Spang, and Mantle) using IntCal13 (34). All the data in table S1 except those four dates with suspect δ13C values are included. The Charcoal Outlier model is specified for the wood charcoal samples (35), and the General Outlier model (35) is specified for all other materials. Compare results using the modified Charcoal Plus Outlier model (30, 37) in fig. S6. The OxCal agreement indices both indicate good agreement between the data and the model (Amodel = 96.4 and Aoverall = 93.5, both >60). There are still a few minor possible outliers: compare with the results in fig. S7. The nonmodeled calibrated dating probabilities are indicated by the light gray distributions; the modeled probabilities are shown by the smaller black distributions. The lines under these modeled distributions indicate the 95.4% hpd ranges. (B) The modeled Date estimates for the Draper, Spang, and Mantle sites are shown in detail and compared with the currently accepted date estimates (“current date”) for each site (3, 14).
Fig. 4
Fig. 4. The Rouge River-West Duffins site sequence of the successive Draper, Spang, and Mantle sites modeled as an ordered sequence of sites as indicated by the 14C data (see text) and existing archeological assessments (, –16) with intervening trapezoidal boundaries (49) to allow for some overlaps.
(A) The site sequence uses the data from Fig. 3 with analysis using OxCal (32, 35), including the Charcoal Outlier model for dates on wood charcoal (35) and using IntCal13 (34). The Amodel and Aoverall values of 65.7 and 64.8 are above the satisfactory value of 60. (B) Details on the modeled dates for the Draper, Spang, and Mantle sites—contrasted with the currently accepted dates for the sites (3, 14)—and for the transitions between Draper and Spang and between Spang and Mantle (see also Table 2).

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