Congratulations to Anthropology major Kat Baganski who won this year’s student paper contest at the Middle Atlantic Archaeological Conference. Kat’s paper, “Bayesian Modelling of Meadowcroft Rockshelter’s Radiocarbon Sequence” will be published in the Journal of Middle Atlantic Archaeology.
Paper Abstract: Meadowcroft Rockshelter in western Pennsylvania represents one of the most important archaeological sites in eastern North America since it appears to have occupations dating to the terminal Pleistocene. The stratified depositional sequence includes a set of radiocarbon dates and unique projectile points forms extending the timeline for human activity in the region to 15,000-18,000 BCE. While the rockshelter has provided a wealth of knowledge through its sequence of floral and faunal remains and material culture, questions remain regarding its radiocarbon-based chronology. Drawing on the Bayesian statistical tools for calibrating and modelling radiocarbon dates, this paper offers a more refined timeline of activity at Meadowcroft. This new sequence allows for more precision and accuracy in the site’s chronology, but perhaps more importantly, the results point toward the need for a new suite of radiocarbon dates from Meadowcroft using the AMS dating procedure to produce assays with smaller standard deviations.