Skip to main content Accessibility help
×
×
Home

The Canadian Archaeological Radiocarbon Database (Card): Archaeological 14C Dates in North America and Their Paleoenvironmental Context

  • K Gajewski (a1), S Munoz (a1), M Peros (a1), A Viau (a1), R Morlan (a2) (a3) and M Betts (a2)...
Abstract

Databases of accumulated paleoecological and archaeological records provide a means for large-scale syntheses of environmental and cultural histories. We describe the current status of the Canadian Archaeological Radiocarbon Database (CARD), a searchable collection of more than 36,000 14C dates from archaeological and paleontological sites from across North America. CARD, built by the late Dr Richard Morlan of the Canadian Museum of Civilization, consists of uncalibrated 14C data as well as information about the material dated, the cultural association of the date (e.g. Paleoindian, Archaic, Woodland), and its geographic location. The database can be used to study questions relating to prehistoric demography, migrations, human vulnerability to environmental change, and human impact on the landscape, but biases relating to sampling intensity and taphonomy must first be accounted for. Currently, Canada and the northern United States are well represented in the database, while the southern United States is underrepresented. The frequency of 14C dates associated with archaeological sites increases through time from 15,000 cal yr BP until European contact, which likely reflects, among other factors, both the destruction of older cultural carbon due to erosion and dissolution and increasing population numbers through time. An exploratory analysis of the dates reveals their distribution in both time and space, and suggests that the database is sufficiently complete to enable quantitative analysis of general demographic trends.

    • Send article to Kindle

      To send this article to your Kindle, first ensure no-reply@cambridge.org is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part of your Kindle email address below. Find out more about sending to your Kindle. Find out more about sending to your Kindle.

      Note you can select to send to either the @free.kindle.com or @kindle.com variations. ‘@free.kindle.com’ emails are free but can only be sent to your device when it is connected to wi-fi. ‘@kindle.com’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.

      Find out more about the Kindle Personal Document Service.

      The Canadian Archaeological Radiocarbon Database (Card): Archaeological 14C Dates in North America and Their Paleoenvironmental Context
      Available formats
      ×
      Send article to Dropbox

      To send this article to your Dropbox account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your <service> account. Find out more about sending content to Dropbox.

      The Canadian Archaeological Radiocarbon Database (Card): Archaeological 14C Dates in North America and Their Paleoenvironmental Context
      Available formats
      ×
      Send article to Google Drive

      To send this article to your Google Drive account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your <service> account. Find out more about sending content to Google Drive.

      The Canadian Archaeological Radiocarbon Database (Card): Archaeological 14C Dates in North America and Their Paleoenvironmental Context
      Available formats
      ×
Copyright
Corresponding author
Corresponding author. Email: gajewski@uottawa.ca.
References
Hide All
Anderson, DG. 2001. Climate and culture change in prehistoric and early historic eastern North America. Archaeology of Eastern North America 29:143–86.
Anderson, DG, Meeks, SC, Goodyear, AC, Miller, DS. 2008. Southeastern data inconsistent with Paleoindian demographic reconstruction. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA 105(50): E108.
Asch, DL, Asch, NB. 1985. Prehistoric plant cultivation in west-central Illinois. In: Ford, RI, editor. Prehistoric Food Production in North America. Anthropological Papers No. 75. Ann Arbor: Museum of Anthropology, University of Michigan. p 149204.
Banfield, AWF. 1977. The Mammals of Canada. Toronto: University of Toronto Press. 438 p.
Barnosky, AD. 2008. Megafauna biomass tradeoff as a driver of Quaternary and future extinctions. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 105(Supplement 1):11,5438.
Bartlein, PJ, Edwards, MD, Shafer, SL, Barker, ED Jr. 1995: Calibration of radiocarbon ages and the interpretation of paleoenvironmental records. Quaternary Research 44(3):417–24.
Berry, CF, Berry, MS. 1986. Chronological and conceptual models of the southwestern Archaic. In: Condie, CJ, Fowler, DD, editors. Anthropology of the Desert West: Essays in Honor of Jesse D. Jennings. Anthropological Papers No. 110. Salt Lake City: University of Utah Press. p 253327.
Buchanan, B. 2003. The effects of sample bias on Paleoindian fluted point recovery in the United States. North American Archaeologist 24:311–38.
Buchanan, B, Collard, M, Edinborough, K. 2008. Paleoindian demography and the extraterrestrial impact hypothesis. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 105(33):11,6514.
Cochran, WG. 1963. Sampling Techniques. New York: Wiley.
Collard, M, Buchanan, B, Edinborough, K. 2008. Reply to Anderson et al., Jones, Kennett and West, Culleton, and Kennett et al.: Further evidence against the extraterrestrial impact hypothesis. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 105(50):E112E114.
Collard, M, Edinborough, K, Shennan, S, Thomas, MG. 2010. Radiocarbon evidence indicates that migrants introduced farming to Britain. Journal of Archaeological Science 37(4):866–70.
Conrad, N, Asch, DL, Asch, NB, Elmore, D, Gove, HE, Rubin, M, Brown, JA, Wiant, MD, Farnsworth, KB, Cook, TG. 1984. Accelerator radiocarbon dating of evidence for prehistoric horticulture in Illinois. Nature 308(5958):443–6.
Culleton, BJ. 2008. Crude demographic proxy reveals nothing about Paleoindian population. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 105(50):E111.
Denevan, WM. 1992. The Pristine myth: the landscape of the Americas in 1492. Annals of the Association of American Geographers 82:369–85.
Dyke, AS. 2004. An outline of North American deglaciation with emphasis on central and northern Canada. In: Ehlers, J, Gibbard, PL, editors. Quaternary Glaciations—Extent and Chronology, Part II. Amsterdam: Elsevier. p 373424.
Fairbanks, RG, Mortlock, RA, Chiu, T-Z, Cao, L, Kaplan, A, Guilderson, TP, Fairbanks, TW, Bloom, AL, Grootes, PM, Nadeau, M-J. 2005. Marine radiocarbon calibration curve spanning 0 to 50,000 years BP based on paired 230Th/234U/238U and 14C dates on pristine corals. Quaternary Science Reviews 24(16–17):1781–96.
Fiedel, SJ. 1999. Older than we thought: implications of corrected dates for Paleoindians. American Antiquity 64(1):95115.
Gajewski, K. 2008. The global pollen database in biogeographical and paleoclimatic studies. Progress in Physical Geography 32:379402.
Gajewski, K, Viau, A, Sawada, M, Atkinson, D, Fines, P. 2006. Synchronicity in climate and vegetation transitions between Europe and North America during the Holocene. Climatic Change 78:341–61.
Gamble, C, Davies, W, Pettitt, P, Richards, M. 2004. Climate change and evolving human diversity in Europe during the last glacial. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society Biological Sciences 359:243–54.
Graham, RW, Lundelius, EL Jr. 1994. FAUNMAP: A Database Documenting Late Quaternary Distributions of Mammal Species in the United States. Springfield: Illinois State Museum, Scientific Papers 25. 690 p.
Grimm, C, Keltner, J, Cheddadi, R, Hicks, S, Lézine, A-M, Berrio, JC, Williams, JW. 2007. Databases and their applications. In: Elias, SA, editor. Encyclopedia of Quaternary Science. Volume 3. Amsterdam: Elsevier. p 2521–8.
Guthrie, RD. 2006. New carbon dates link climatic change with human colonization and Pleistocene extinctions. Nature 441(7090):207–9.
Harington, CR. 1978. Quaternary Vertebrate Faunas of Canada and Alaska and Their Suggested Chronological Sequence. Ottawa: National Museum of Natural Sciences.
Harington, CR. 2003. Annotated Bibliography of Quaternary Vertebrates of Northern North America. Toronto: University of Toronto Press. 539 p.
Hughen, KA, Baillie, MGL, Bard, E, Beck, JW, Bertrand, CJH, Blackwell, PG, Buck, CE, Burr, GS, Cutler, KB, Damon, PE, Edwards, RL, Fairbanks, RG, Friedrich, M, Guilderson, TP, Kromer, B, McCormac, G, Manning, S, Bronk Ramsey, C, Reimer, PJ, Reimer, RW, Remmele, S, Southon, JR, Stuiver, M, Talamo, S, Taylor, FW, van der Plicht, J, Weyhenmeyer, CE. 2004b. Marine04 marine radiocarbon age calibration, 0–26 cal kyr BP. Radiocarbon 46(3):1059–86.
Kaplan, JO, Krumhardt, KM, Zimmerman, N. 2009. The prehistoric and preindustrial deforestation of Europe. Quaternary Science Reviews 28(27–28):3016–34.
Kra, R. 1988a. The first American workshop on the International Radiocarbon Data Base. Radiocarbon 30(2):259–60.
Kra, R. 1988b. Updating the past: the establishment of the International Radiocarbon Data Base. American Antiquity 53(1):118–25.
Kurtén, B, Anderson, E. 1980. Pleistocene Mammals of North America. New York: Columbia University Press. 443 p.
McGhee, R. 2000. Radiocarbon dating and the timing of the Thule migration. In: Appelt, M Berglund, J, Gulløv, H, editors. Identities and Cultural Contacts in the Arctic. Copenhagen: Danish Polar Centre. p 181–91.
Morlan, RE. 1987. Archaeology as palaeobiology. Transactions of the Royal Society of Canada Series V(2): 117–24.
Morlan, RE. 1988. Avonlea and radiocarbon dating. In: Davis, LB, editor. Avonlea Yesterday and Today: Archaeology and Prehistory. Saskatoon: Saskatchewan Archaeological Society. p 291309.
Morlan, RE. 1993. A compilation and evaluation of radiocarbon dates in Saskatchewan. Saskatchewan Archaeology 13:284.
Morlan, RE. 1999. Canadian Archaeological Radiocarbon Database: establishing conventional ages. Canadian Journal of Archaeology 23:310.
Morlan, RE. 2005. Canadian Archaeological Radiocarbon Database. Ottawa: Canadian Museum of Civilization.
Morlan, RE, McNeely, R, Schreiner, BT. 1996. Saskatchewan radiocarbon dates and vertebrate faunas. Geological Survey of Canada Open File Report no. 3366 (1 diskette).
Morlan, RE, McNeely, R, Nielsen, E. 1999. Manitoba radiocarbon dates and vertebrate faunas. Geological Survey of Canada Open File Report (1 diskette).
Munoz, SE. 2010. Prehistoric human-environment interaction in eastern North America [unpublished MSc dissertation]. Ottawa: University of Ottawa.
Munoz, S, Gajewski, K. 2010. Distinguishing prehistoric human influence on late-Holocene forests in southern Ontario, Canada. The Holocene 20(6):967–81.
Munoz, SE, Gajewski, K, Peros, MC. 2010. Synchronous environmental and cultural change in the prehistory of the northeastern United States. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (USA) 107:22,008–13.
Peros, MC, Munoz, SE, Gajewski, K, Viau, AE. 2010. Prehistoric demography of North America inferred from radiocarbon data. Journal of Archaeological Science 37(3):656–64.
Pongratz, J, Reick, C, Raddatz, T, Claussen, M. 2008. A reconstruction of global agricultural areas and land cover for the last millennium. Global Biogeochemical Cycles 22, GB3018, doi:10.1029/2007GB003153.
Power, MJ, Marlon, J, Oritz, N, Bartlein, PJ, Harrison, S, Mayle, F, Ballouche, A, Bradshaw, R, Carcaillet, C, Cordova, C, et al. 2008. Changes in fire regimes since the last glacial maximum: an assessment based on a global synthesis and analysis of charcoal data. Climate Dynamics 30(7–8):887907.
Riede, F. 2009. Climate and demography in early prehistory: using calibrated 14C dates as population proxies. Human Biology 81(2–3):309–37.
Reimer, PJ, Baillie, MGL, Bard, E, Bayliss, A, Beck, JW, Bertrand, CJH, Blackwell, PG, Buck, CE, Burr, GS, Cutler, KB, Damon, PE, Edwards, RL, Fairbanks, RG, Friedrich, M, Guilderson, TP, Hogg, AG, Hughen, KA, Kromer, B, McCormac, G, Manning, S, Bronk Ramsey, C, Reimer, RW, Remmele, S, Southon, JR, Stuiver, M, Talamo, S, Taylor, FW, van der Plicht, J, Weyhenmeyer, CE. 2004. IntCal04 terrestrial radiocarbon age calibration, 0–26 cal kyr BP. Radiocarbon 46(3):1029–58.
Reimer, PJ, Baillie, MGL, Bard, E, Bayliss, A, Beck, JW, Blackwell, PG, Bronk Ramsey, C, Buck, CE, Burr, GS, Edwards, RL, Friedrich, M, Grootes, PM, Guilderson, TP, Hajdas, I, Heaton, TJ, Hogg, AG, Hughen, KA, Kaiser, KF, Kromer, B, McCormac, FG, Manning, SW, Reimer, RW, Richards, DA, Southon, JR, Talamo, S, Turney, CSM, van der Plicht, J, Weyhenmeyer, CE. 2009. IntCal09 and Marine09 radiocarbon age calibration curves, 0–50,000 years cal BP. Radiocarbon 51(4):1111–50.
Ruddiman, WR. 2003. The anthropogenic greenhouse era began thousands of years ago. Climatic Change 61:261–93.
Steele, J. 2010. Radiocarbon dates as data: quantitative strategies for estimating colonization front speeds and event densities. Journal of Archaeological Science 37(8):2017–30.
Stoltman, JB, Baerris, D. 1983. The evolution of human ecosystems in the eastern United States. In: Wright, HE, editor. Late-Quaternary Environments of the United States. Volume 2: The Holocene. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press. p 252–68.
Stuiver, M, Reimer, PJ. 1993. Extended 14C database and revised CALIB 3.0 14C age calibration program. Radiocarbon 35(1):215–30.
Stuiver, M, Braziunas, TF, Becker, B, Kromer, B. 1991. Climatic, solar, oceanic and geomagnetic influences on Late-Glacial and Holocene atmospheric 14C/12C change. Quaternary Research 35(1):124.
Stuiver, M, Reimer, PJ, Reimer, R. 2009. CALIB Radiocarbon Calibration Program. Available online: http://calib.qub.ac.uk/calib/.
Surovell, TA, Brantingham, PJ. 2007. A note on the use of temporal frequency distributions in studies of prehistoric demography. Journal of Archaeological Science 34(11):1868–77.
Surovell, TA, Finley, JB, Smith, GM, Brantingham, PJ, Kelley, R. 2009. Correcting temporal frequency distributions for taphonomic bias. Journal of Archaeological Science 36(8):1715–24.
Telford, RJ, Heegaard, E, Birks, HJB. 2004. The intercept is a poor estimate of a calibrated radiocarbon age. The Holocene 14(2):296–8.
Ubelaker, DH. 1992. Patterns of demographic change in the Americas. Human Biology 64:361–79.
Ubelaker, DH. 2006. Population size, contact to nadir. In: Ubelaker, DH, editor. Environment, Origins, and Population, Volume 3, Handbook of North American Indians. Washington, DC: Smithsonian Institution. p 694701.
Viau, AE, Gajewski, K, Fines, P, Atkinson, DE, Sawada, MC. 2002. Widespread evidence of 1500 yr climate variability in North America during the past 14,000 yr. Geology 30(5):455–8.
Viau, AE, Gajewski, K, Sawada, M, Fines, P. 2006. Millennial scale temperature variations in North America during the Holocene. Journal of Geophysical Research 111: D09102.
Warrick, G. 2008. A Population History of the Hurton-Petun, A.D. 500–1600. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press
Waters, MR, Stafford, TW Jr. 2007. Redefining the age of Clovis: implications for the peopling of the Americas. Science 315(5815):1122–6.
Wilmeth, R. 1971. Canadian archaeological radiocarbon dates. National Museum of Canada Bulletin 232:68127.
Wilmeth, R. 1978. Canadian archaeological radiocarbon dates (revised version). Archaeological Survey of Canada, Mercury Series Paper No. 77. Ottawa: National Museum of Man. 204 p.
Recommend this journal

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

Radiocarbon
  • ISSN: 0033-8222
  • EISSN: 1945-5755
  • URL: /core/journals/radiocarbon
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *
×

Metrics

Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between <date>. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Usage data cannot currently be displayed