AMS radiocarbon dating of the type plainview and firstview (paleoindian) assemblages: The agony and the ecstasy

Vance T. Holliday, Eileen Johnson, Thomas W. Stafford

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

42 Scopus citations

Abstract

Plainview and Firstview are two of the principal post-Folsom Paleoindian artifact assemblages on the Great Plains, but good radiometric age control for these artifact styles is relatively poor, due in part to lack of reliable age control on the type collections. This study reports the results of AMS-radiocarbon dating of specific amino acids from Bison antiquus bone associated with the type Plainview and Firstview assemblages from the Plainview and Olsen-Chubbuck sites, respectively. Seven samples of bone and teeth from Plainview produced a surprisingly wide array of ages. As a result, the age of the bone bed and the type Plainview collection remain uncertain, but it is most likely ≥ 10,000 B.P. (but late or post-Folsom) given the dating and stratigraphic relationships at Plainview and other sites. Seven samples of bone from Olsen-Chubbuck yielded a tight cluster of ages averaging ca 9400 B.P., fitting well with other dated Firstview features on the Southern Plains. These results show that much better age control from more sites is needed in order to understand the Paleoindian record. AMS-radiocarbon dating of specific amino acids from bone has revolutionized such issues of chronology in archaeology, but like any other method, it can provide confusing results and must be used in conjunction with other chronometric data.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)444-454
Number of pages11
JournalAmerican Antiquity
Volume64
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Jul 1999

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