The team is excited to release our second project-related publication out into the wild!
While it’s mostly research that was conducted before the Dating Iroquoia project officially began, our latest publication in American Antiquity does present data about several sites in the Trent Valley sequence in Ontario, one of the village relocation sequences we’ve focused on for our Dating Iroquoia work as well. We present a revised timeline for the occupations of the Benson, Sopher, Ball, and Warminster sites. We wanted to know what order the sites were probably occupied in, especially for the Ball and Warminster sites. There’s been some debate about whether Ball or Warminster is the most likely candidate for the site of Cahiague, an Ancestral Huron-Wendat village that Samuel de Champlain spent some time in during AD 1615-1616.
We got to use several different dating and Bayesian chronological modeling techniques to figure this out. From a well-preserved wall post at Warminster (a very rare find on an Iroquoian site) we were able to run a sequence of tree-ring dates and perform dendro wiggle-matching.
For each site, we split a few pieces of corn in half, and sent ½ to the Center for Applied Isotope Studies at the University of Georgia and the other ½ to the Centre for Isotope Research at the University of Groningen in the Netherlands. In our models, we combined the separate dates for each corn kernel, which resulted in single dates that were a little more precise.
Finally, we tried to assume as little as possible about the order the sites were occupied in. As one way to test possible sequences, or whether certain sites were likely to come before or after one another, we used the Order function in OxCal. This basically asks OxCal how likely it is that any radiocarbon date (single) or event (derived from several radiocarbon dates) came before any other. Our Order analysis made it clear that Benson was the earliest site, and that Warminster was the latest, which helped us build our models.
From our analysis, it became clear that the Ball site dated to a bit earlier than Warminster, and that people were probably not living there anymore by the time Champlain came through. Warminster, however, definitely was an active village in AD 1615-1616, and is the more likely candidate. This fits with a lot of the inferences that have been made based on ethnohistoric accounts and European trade goods.
Manning, Sturt, Jennifer Birch, Megan Anne Conger, Michael W. Dee, Carol Griggs, and Carla S. Hadden. Contact-Era Chronology Building in Iroquoia: Age Estimates for Arendarhonon Sites and Implications for Identifying Champlain’s Cahiague. American Antiquity 84(4):684-707.
Manning, Sturt, Jennifer Birch, Megan Anne Conger, Michael W. Dee, Carol Griggs, Carla S. Hadden, Alan G. Hogg, Christopher Bronk Ramsey, Samantha Santf, Peter Steier, and Eva M. Wild. Radiocarbon re-dating of contact-era Iroquoian history in northeastern North America. Science Advances 4(12). DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.aav0280.