The first article reporting on results from the Dating Iroquoia project has been published!
Led by project co-PI Dr. Sturt Manning, the paper in Science Advances presents data from Draper, Spang, Mantle, and Warminster, four sites in southern Ontario.
We used radiocarbon dating and Bayesian Chronological modeling to date the site relocation sequence of the Draper, Spang, and Mantle sites along the West Duffins Creek. Previously, based on a combination of ceramic seriation, settlement pattern chronology, and the presence/absence of European trade goods, we’d thought that these sites were occupied during the mid-fifteenth through mid-sixteenth centuries. The independent radiocarbon dates we analyzed, however, indicate that these sites were occupied as much as 50 to 100 years later, in the mid-sixteenth through early 17th centuries.
We also dated the Warminster site, believed to be the village of Cahiagué which Samuel de Champlain visited in AD 1615. Using radiocarbon dating, Bayesian Chronological modeling, and dendrochronology we confirmed that Warminster was occupied during the early 17th century, strengthening the case that it could be the village where Champlain stayed in the winter of 1615-1616.
Our new, absolute chronology for these two sites suggests that Mantle and Warminster, previously thought to have been occupied as much as a full century apart, were partially occupied at the same time. This was as much of a surprise to us as it might be to you, since these sites have very different material assemblages associated with them. Mantle was fully excavated in 2003-2005, and only three artifacts of European manufacture were identified from the entire site. Warminster was partially excavated throughout the 1940s through 1970s, with hundreds of European manufactured artifacts, including a very large collection of glass beads, identified from the site’s material assemblages.
The fact that these two sites could be occupied at the same time, but have such dramatically different material assemblages, suggests to us that the people who lived at Warminster and the people who lived at Mantle were interacting with Europeans in very different ways, independent of one another.
Developing a deeper and more precise understanding of the timing and tempo of initial trade and interaction with Europeans is one of the central goals of Dating Iroquoia, and the results of this first article are a promising start. We are currently getting ready to submit our second round of radiocarbon samples for dating, and are in the process of analyzing and modeling our data from five other Iroquoian communities to present in a session we’re organizing at this year’s Society for American Archaeology meetings (more on that in a future post!)
We’re excited to see how other site sequences, including the Trent Valley sequence (which is where the people who built Warminster used to live) compare to the West Duffins Creek sequence of Draper, Spang, and Mantle.