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

7 Citations (Scopus)
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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.

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

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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

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    Ledger, P. M., Forbes, V., Masson-Maclean, E., Hillerdal, C., Hamilton, W. D., McManus-Fry, E., Jorge, A., Britton, K., & 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