Skip to main content
    • Aa
    • Aa

The Systematic Use of Radiocarbon Dating in Archaeological Surveys in Coastal and Other Erosional Environments

  • Jon M. Erlandson (a1) and Madonna L. Moss (a1)

Traditionally, archaeologists have used l4C dating primarily as a postexcavation analytical tool to establish the age of features, strata, or assemblages. In coastal zones and other environments around the world, however, thousands of archaeological sites are rapidly eroding or endangered by other destructive processes. We believe archaeologists should expand their use of l4C dating, systematically incorporating it into surveys in coastal, lacustrine, riverine, and other environments where erosional exposures often provide access to extensive stratigraphic profiles. With examples from the Pacific Coast of North América, we show how widespread l4C dating of sites during surveys can be used to help manage archaeological sites more effectively and identify significant patterns of paleoenvironmental change, site survival, settlement and demography, technology, and social organization. Without more widespread application of such techniques, and a reallocation of research and cultural resource management funds, thousands of sites will be lost before even the most basic information about their age and contents is known.

Linked references
Hide All

This list contains references from the content that can be linked to their source. For a full set of references and notes please see the PDF or HTML where available.

J. M.Erlandson 1994 Early Hunter-Gatherers of the California Coast. Plenum Press, New York.

J. M.Erlandson 1996 The Pleistocene-Holocene Transition along the Pacific Coast of North America. In Humans at the End of the Ice Age: The Archaeology of the Pleistocene-Holocene Transition, edited by L. G.Straus , B.V.Eriksen , J.M.Erlandson , and D.R.Yesner , pp. 277301. Plenum Press, New York.

W. R.Wood , and D. L.Johnson 1978 A Survey of Disturbance Processes in Archaeological Site Formation. Advances in Archaeological Method and Theory 1: 315381. Academic Press, New York.

Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

American Antiquity
  • ISSN: 0002-7316
  • EISSN: 2325-5064
  • URL: /core/journals/american-antiquity
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *