Academic department under which the project should be listed

Geography and Anthropology

Faculty Sponsor Name

Terry Powis, PhD

Project Type

Poster

Abstract (250 words maximum)

Ceramic Analysis and Radiocarbon Dating

Savana Deems

Student Scholar Symposium Spring 2016

Radiocarbon dating is not always a fool proof method of dating an archaeological site. There are many factors that can skew the data, such as back fill for a cultural feature coming from an area where a forest fire occurred thousands of years before, or at the very least, this data may not give the entire narrative of the occupation of a site. Sometimes a project may not be able to afford the hundreds of dollars required per sample to analyze charcoal remains. Ceramics however, are free to analyze, and have distinct designs that are indicative of a very finite and set time period and culture. The focus of this research is analyzing the ceramic sherds from two large storage pit features at the Dabbs Site in Bartow County, Georgia. Feature 2 and Feature 50 provided a wealth of ceramic sherds for analyzing, as well as charcoal samples that were used for radiocarbon dating, both key in dating the site. The sherds were analyzed independently, without knowledge of the radiocarbon dates, in order to insure that the results were not biased or made to fit the dates reported from the charcoal samples. The decorative motifs of the sherds range from the Middle Woodland Period to the Middle Mississippian Period (300 BC-AD 1400). This coincides with the radiocarbon dating from these two features, yielding irrefutable proof that these features do indeed date to the time periods reported in print. In addition, these results show that ceramic dating is just as accurate as radiocarbon dating, affording the researcher with more than one way to date a site while maintaining scientific legitimacy in an archaeological project

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Ceramic Analysis and Radiocarbon Dating

Ceramic Analysis and Radiocarbon Dating

Savana Deems

Student Scholar Symposium Spring 2016

Radiocarbon dating is not always a fool proof method of dating an archaeological site. There are many factors that can skew the data, such as back fill for a cultural feature coming from an area where a forest fire occurred thousands of years before, or at the very least, this data may not give the entire narrative of the occupation of a site. Sometimes a project may not be able to afford the hundreds of dollars required per sample to analyze charcoal remains. Ceramics however, are free to analyze, and have distinct designs that are indicative of a very finite and set time period and culture. The focus of this research is analyzing the ceramic sherds from two large storage pit features at the Dabbs Site in Bartow County, Georgia. Feature 2 and Feature 50 provided a wealth of ceramic sherds for analyzing, as well as charcoal samples that were used for radiocarbon dating, both key in dating the site. The sherds were analyzed independently, without knowledge of the radiocarbon dates, in order to insure that the results were not biased or made to fit the dates reported from the charcoal samples. The decorative motifs of the sherds range from the Middle Woodland Period to the Middle Mississippian Period (300 BC-AD 1400). This coincides with the radiocarbon dating from these two features, yielding irrefutable proof that these features do indeed date to the time periods reported in print. In addition, these results show that ceramic dating is just as accurate as radiocarbon dating, affording the researcher with more than one way to date a site while maintaining scientific legitimacy in an archaeological project