Three Generations Under One Roof? Bayesian Modeling of Radiocarbon Data from Nunalleq, Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta, Alaska

Paul M. Ledger*, Véronique Forbes, Edouard Masson-Maclean, Charlotta Hillerdal, W. Derek Hamilton, Ellen McManus-Fry, Ana Jorge, Kate Britton, Richard A. Knecht

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

3 Citations (Scopus)
6 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

This article presents the results of a program of radiocarbon dating and Bayesian modeling from the precontact Yup'ik site of Nunalleq (GDN-248) in subarctic southwestern Alaska. Nunalleq is deeply stratified, presenting a robust relative chronological framework of well-defined individual house floors abundant in ecofacts suitable for radiocarbon dating. Capitalizing on this potential, we present the results of one of the first applications of Bayesian statistical modeling of radiocarbon data from an archaeological site in the North American Arctic. Using these methods, we demonstrate that it is possible to generate robust, high-resolution chronological models from Arctic archaeology. Radiocarbon dates, procured prior to the program of dating and modeling presented here, suggested an approximately three-century duration of occupation at the site. The results of Bayesian modeling nuance this interpretation. While it is possible that there may have been activity for almost three centuries (beginning in the late fourteenth century), occupation of the dwelling complex, which dominates the site, was more likely to have endured for no more than a century. The results presented here suggest that the occupation of Nunalleq likely encompassed three generations beginning cal AD 1570-1630 before being curtailed by conflict around cal AD 1645-1675.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)505-524
Number of pages20
JournalAmerican Antiquity
Volume83
Issue number3
Early online date3 May 2018
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2018

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occupation
Arctic
fourteenth century
archaeology
interpretation
Radiocarbon
Bayesian Modeling
Radiocarbon Dating
Modeling
Ecofacts
Pre-contact
Dwelling
Radiocarbon Dates
Archaeological Sites
Archaeology

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • History
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Archaeology
  • Museology

Cite this

Ledger, P. M., Forbes, V., Masson-Maclean, E., Hillerdal, C., Hamilton, W. D., McManus-Fry, E., ... Knecht, R. A. (2018). Three Generations Under One Roof? Bayesian Modeling of Radiocarbon Data from Nunalleq, Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta, Alaska. American Antiquity, 83(3), 505-524. https://doi.org/10.1017/aaq.2018.14

Three Generations Under One Roof? Bayesian Modeling of Radiocarbon Data from Nunalleq, Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta, Alaska. / Ledger, Paul M.; Forbes, Véronique; Masson-Maclean, Edouard; Hillerdal, Charlotta; Hamilton, W. Derek; McManus-Fry, Ellen; Jorge, Ana; Britton, Kate; Knecht, Richard A.

In: American Antiquity, Vol. 83, No. 3, 01.07.2018, p. 505-524.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Ledger, PM, Forbes, V, Masson-Maclean, E, Hillerdal, C, Hamilton, WD, McManus-Fry, E, Jorge, A, Britton, K & Knecht, RA 2018, 'Three Generations Under One Roof? Bayesian Modeling of Radiocarbon Data from Nunalleq, Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta, Alaska', American Antiquity, vol. 83, no. 3, pp. 505-524. https://doi.org/10.1017/aaq.2018.14
Ledger, Paul M. ; Forbes, Véronique ; Masson-Maclean, Edouard ; Hillerdal, Charlotta ; Hamilton, W. Derek ; McManus-Fry, Ellen ; Jorge, Ana ; Britton, Kate ; Knecht, Richard A. / Three Generations Under One Roof? Bayesian Modeling of Radiocarbon Data from Nunalleq, Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta, Alaska. In: American Antiquity. 2018 ; Vol. 83, No. 3. pp. 505-524.
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abstract = "This article presents the results of a program of radiocarbon dating and Bayesian modeling from the precontact Yup'ik site of Nunalleq (GDN-248) in subarctic southwestern Alaska. Nunalleq is deeply stratified, presenting a robust relative chronological framework of well-defined individual house floors abundant in ecofacts suitable for radiocarbon dating. Capitalizing on this potential, we present the results of one of the first applications of Bayesian statistical modeling of radiocarbon data from an archaeological site in the North American Arctic. Using these methods, we demonstrate that it is possible to generate robust, high-resolution chronological models from Arctic archaeology. Radiocarbon dates, procured prior to the program of dating and modeling presented here, suggested an approximately three-century duration of occupation at the site. The results of Bayesian modeling nuance this interpretation. While it is possible that there may have been activity for almost three centuries (beginning in the late fourteenth century), occupation of the dwelling complex, which dominates the site, was more likely to have endured for no more than a century. The results presented here suggest that the occupation of Nunalleq likely encompassed three generations beginning cal AD 1570-1630 before being curtailed by conflict around cal AD 1645-1675.",
author = "Ledger, {Paul M.} and V{\'e}ronique Forbes and Edouard Masson-Maclean and Charlotta Hillerdal and Hamilton, {W. Derek} and Ellen McManus-Fry and Ana Jorge and Kate Britton and Knecht, {Richard A.}",
note = "Acknowledgments. This research was funded through an Arts and Humanities Research Council grant (AH/K006029/1) awarded to Drs. Rick Knecht, Charlotta Hillerdal, and Kate Britton, and two NERC Radiocarbon Facility grants (NF/2015/1/6 and NF/2015/2/3) awarded to Drs. Rick Knecht and Paul Ledger. V{\'e}ronique Forbes received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation program under the Marie Sklodowska-Curie grant agreement number 703322. Excavations at Nunalleq have also benefited from the support of the local community who have made us all feel at home in Quinhagak. In particular, we wish to thank Qanirtuuq Incorporated and Warren Jones for logistical support and their consistently warm hospitality. Thanks also to Philip Ashlock who took the aerial image presented in Figure 3. We also wish to acknowledge the contribution of all of the students and researchers who have excavated at Nunalleq between 2009 and 2015. Without their hard work and dedication, in sometimes challenging conditions, this article would not have been possible. Finally, we wish to thank three anonymous reviewers and Robert Kelly for constructive criticism that has helped improved this manuscript. Permission for excavations at Nunalleq was granted by Qanirtuuq Incorporated.",
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